Dozens of whales beach on South African shore

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The Independent Online

Dozens of pilot whales beached this morning near the storm-lashed tip of South Africa, prompting a massive rescue operation.

Rescuers were using six bulldozers to push the 55 whales back into the water, but "as soon as we put them back into the sea, they swim back to the beach again," said National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon.

One whale has died, and high winds and rough seas were frustrating the rescue attempts.

"It's not a very easy situation," Lambinon said.

Pilot whales, about 3 meters (10 feet) long, are fairly common around South Africa. There was no immediate explanation as to why they were beaching.

Hundreds of volunteers and onlookers flocked to the beach at Kommitjie, near Cape Point, and were blocking the main approach road. Lambinon appealed to the public to stay away.