Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, August 13, 2001

Kona beachgoers struggle to keep injured whale afloat

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Big Island firefighters closed down a beach on the Kona side of the island yesterday afternoon as beachgoers struggled to save a beached whale.

The whale was off Ali'i Drive in Keauhou, near the Banyon surf spot and fronting the Bali Kai apartment complex, said Keauhou Fire Capt. Matthew Miyasato.

Bystanders saw the mammal, which they thought may be a baby sperm whale, try to beach itself and ram its head onto the lava rocks. The accident left the whale dazed and bleeding, and sharks began to gather farther offshore.

Bystanders called the fire department at about 4:20.

Firefighters called in a branch of the Department of Land and Natural Resources to deal with the sharks, which remained at a distance, and a Honolulu representative of the National Marine Fisheries Service to deal with the whale.

Six people from the area worked last night to keep the whale afloat using a fire department tarp, Miyasato said.

He said the whale appeared to be about 8 feet to 10 feet long. People from the neighborhood had been scanning the horizon looking for the baby's mother or pod, but had noticed no other whales, Miyasato said.