4 December 2013
Last updated at 21:14
Six whales have died and as many as 40 more are stranded after a pod beached off Florida’s Everglades National Park, US government officials have said.
The pilot whales were swimming in only 3ft (0.9m) of salt water at a remote beach on Tuesday.
Initial rescue efforts have been stymied because the water around the animals is too shallow for boats.
Scientists believe the whales may have become stranded during low tide and were unable to return to deeper water.
Away from home
“This scenario is very challenging because of where they are,” Blair Mase, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told reporters.
“They are very out of their home range.”
She said the pilot whales, part of the dolphin family, normally inhabit deep waters.
Ms Mase said that 25 people had joined the rescue effort.
If the non-endangered whales cannot be aided out of the shallow waters, they may be euthanised, she concluded.
Everglades National Park comprises much of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.