Insane World

Beluga whale that became stranded in France’s Seine river dies during rescue operations

A beluga whale who became stranded in France’s Seine river has died during a last-ditch attempt to save the animal.

The announcement was made by officials in the north-western France, where the four-metre mammal had been transported in a refrigerated truck after being lifted from the water.

Rescuers had planned to release the 800kg whale in the sea.

The beluga had been trapped more than 100km inland and its health deteriorated after failing to eat.

On Wednesday, crowds were seen gathering on the banks of the river at Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne in Normandy to watch the rescue – as interest in the whale’s survival spread beyond France.

Experts are still puzzled how the whale managed to stray so far south from its natural habitat.

Belugas occasionally venture south in the autumn to feed as ice forms, but it is rare for them to travel so far from their native home. According to France’s Pelagis Observatory which specialises in sea mammals, the nearest beluga population is off the Svalbard archipelago, north of Norway, 3,000km from the Seine.