The Straits Times
Published on Feb 26, 2013

Chile says 20 beached whales die in Strait of Magellan


SANTIAGO (AFP) - Twenty killer whales died and 25 others were rescued after becoming stranded along the Strait of Magellan by an unusually low tide, Chile's National Fishing Service said Tuesday.

Fishermen and Chilean navy personnel struggled to save the orcas after they ran into trouble near Susan, a village on the strait that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the southern tip of South America, officials said.

"The maritime authority and fishermen in the area succeeded in returning 25 to the sea, but due to an unusually low tide, 20 animals could not be rescued and died at the scene," said Jorge Sierpa, director of the Fishing Service in Punta Arenas.

Orcas, members of the dolphin family with no natural predator, can weigh up to two tons and grow to lengths of up to 24 feet (eight meters).