Heroic Bystanders Saved A Beached Whale On New Year's Day

"If you do not think there is good in this world, look around you."

A group of bystanders in Nova Scotia started the new year off by taking part in a good deed when they stepped in to help a beached whale that had washed ashore onto the beach.

Buzzfeed Canada reports the distressed mammal was first found by Ron Yaschuk on Jan. 1 while Yaschuk was walking his dog on Rainbow Haven Beach, which is located in the Halifax Metro region. "We're walking along and I could see something off in the distance," Yaschuk told the outlet. "I approach it and I see it's a whale."

Though Yaschuk was unsure how long the massive pilot whale had been laying on the sand, upon approaching it, he could see it was still moving its tail and breathing through its blowhole, indicating there was still time to act.

After alerting the appropriate authorities, Yaschuk called his son, Logan, who showed up with two friends, ready to help. As you can see from the photos above, Logan also documented the rescue mission on Instagram, writing, in part, "I can't express how proud I am that my Dad found this creature and started a rescue that would see it get back to safety." 

While waiting for the marine society to show up, other passersby including surfers and law enforcement officials took note of the commotion and dropped what they were doing to lend a hand and help the whale. The Instagram video below shows the whale struggling to breathe as it rests in the sand with a blanket covering much of its body to help prevent frostbite. According to a woman named Heather who captured the video, people (including Yaschuk) spoke to the whale in an effort to keep it calm until more help arrived, and dug trenches in the whale's path to ease it back into the water.

"More than a community effort it was a real human effort," Heather wrote. "If you do not think there is good in this world look around you."

Jen Jackson, one of the many people who worked to save the whale, told CBC, "It's a pretty amazing experience. It's pretty cool to see all kinds of people just helping and doing anything they can to save this mammal."

Once a call was put out on Facebook to help the whale, dozens more people showed up and were eventually able to move the animal, who weighed at least 3,300 pounds, onto a tarp and back into the deeper water from there.

"The number of people that came out was great and everyone was willing to work together and give this animal its best chance," Andrew Reid of the Marine Animal Response Society told HuffPost Canada. "We definitely had more than enough people to pull it. I had to ask people to slow down when we were initially pulling it off the beach because we were practically jogging with the animal!"

Thankfully Reid said the male whale showed no signs of injury or sickness, and was spotted doing seemingly well after being lead back into the water. "After the animal was refloated and left the area, we went up the coast and talked to a few people who saw the animal swimming by, heading out to deeper water," he explained. "As far as we know he left the area and can hopefully find its pod or another pod again."

While the Internet doesn't always bring out the best in people, it's encouraging to see that, in this case, it lead to the successful rescue of a helpless animal. 

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