Rescue mission for re-stranded whales fails

A group of pilot whales that re-stranded near the Bay of Plenty town of Opotiki this morning have died despite medics rushing to their aid.

Twenty-two stranded whales have died on Opotiki beach after failing to re-float Source: 1 NEWS

Twenty-two stranded pilot whales were discovered about 6.20am just east of the Ohiwa Harbour entrance. Six had already died by the time they were discovered.

Marine mammal medics from Project Jonah and Department of Conservation staff rushed to save the remaining whales.

However, eight died and medics decided about 8am to euthanise the remaining whales on welfare grounds.

The whales are thought to have been from the same group that was re-floated in a mammoth volunteer effort yesterday.

Project Jonah said in a post on its Facebook page the deaths were a sad outcome after the success of yesterday's efforts.

"It's worth remembering that any time the whales spend out of their natural environment is a highly stressful time for these beautiful animals."

More than sixty whales were involved in the stranding incidents that started to unfold on Tuesday afternoon.