Orwell whale dies after rescue bid fails

VIDEO Marine experts told of their sadness today after their desperate attempts to rescue a whale trapped in the river Orwell near Ipswich failed.The six-metre northern bottlenose was put down by a specialist vet soon after first light this morning after it beached itself in the shallows under the Orwell bridge.

MARINE experts told of their sadness today after their desperate attempts to rescue a whale trapped in the river Orwell near Ipswich failed.

The six-metre northern bottlenose was put down by a specialist vet soon after first light after it beached itself in the shallows under the Orwell bridge.

The whale's death marked a sad end to a drama which gripped Ipswich and saw scores of people line the banks of the Orwell.

Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group had battled for hours to help the whale - named George by the rescue team after George Orwell - find deeper water.

In the end, its fate was sealed when it became trapped in shallow waters on the Orwell Country Park side of the river.

Medics monitored it throughout the night and after dawn it was given powerful sedatives. It finally died at about 6.30am today.

Most Read

Trevor Weeks, national coordinator of the BDMLR, said: “It's a very sad outcome. About 1.30am the animal beached itself in shallow water and as the tide has gone out the animal was left high-and-dry.

“At about 5.15am a veterinary team managed to get all their gear to the animal and that's when they started the process of putting it to sleep.”

Volunteers travelled from Kent, London, Essex and from across East Anglia to join the efforts to save the Orwell whale.

Mr Weeks said: “I'm immensely proud of the volunteers that came up here and the effort everybody has put in to reduce the suffering of the animal. I take my hat off to them.”

For video of the whale see story under the heading 'Orwell whale's outlook always bleak' under 'news' on this website.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter