The disastrous New Zealand pilot whale beaching we reported in our weekend edition has got even worse over the weekend writes Peter Frost.
Despite the efforts of scores of weary volunteers who managed to refloat over a hundred of the original 420 beached animals a second pod of 240 came ashore on Sunday bringing the total to 640.
Wet suited volunteers were back in the water at first light Sunday but found a new difficulty in the arrival of both sting rays and sharks attracted by blood and numerous dead and dying whales.
Some conditions however helped and in crystal clear water dozens of volunteers formed a human chain to keep at least some of the whales afloat and off the sands.
200 whales have been refloated and returned to deeper waters offshore but experts are warning that further whales may beach themselves this week.
This article first appeared in the Morning Star 13 February 2017.