By Jessica Satherley
Stuck in the mud: The 30ft baby Minke whale became beached in a shallow dock near Grimsby, Lincolnshire, but rescuers managed to save it after an eight-hour mission
A 15-ton Minke whale calf has been successfully saved by rescuers after becoming beached in a shallow dock this morning.
The 30ft mammal became beached in Immingham Docks, near Grimsby, Lincolnshire, after it became startled and lost its mother.
The distressed whale was spotted by a passing ship, which alerted authorities at 8am this morning and kick started the eight-hour rescue mission.
Over 50 emergency personnel descended on Immingham Docks, including the RSPCA, Coastguard, RNLI, fire services and British Marine Rescue, to try and free the trapped marine mammal.
Rescuers believe it was swimming with its mother when it was startled and went off course - becoming trapped in the shallow dock.
Fire services desperately dug a trench to help create a path deep enough to secure the whale’s safe passage back to sea once the next high tide came in.
Meanwhile, the baby whale’s distressed mother was frantically circling the Humber waiting for its return.
Successful mission: Over 50 emergency personnel descended on Immingham Docks, including the RSPCA, Coastguard, RNLI, fire services and British Marine Rescue
But as fears grew that the whale may have had to be put down, the eight-hour rescue attempt came to an end as the distressed creature was finally freed.
It is now heading back out into the North Sea to be reunited with his mother.
A spokesman for British Divers Marine Life Rescue: ‘We got a call at 8am this morning to say there was a Minke whale beached at Immingham Docks.
'At that moment in time it was facing towards the sea, but we successfully helped rotate it.
'Fire services began digging a trench to allow water underneath the whale and support it. The concern was that the tide would continue to drop and it would not be able to support its large weight, so we obviously needed to get it back to sea as soon as possible.
Rescue plan: Fire services dug a trench to help create a path deep enough to secure the whale's safe passage back to sea once the next high tide came in
'Thankfully, Minke whales can survive a bit longer than other whales. With good first aid and animal care the animal can survive for 12 hours.
'We have had our local co-ordinator there and a team of British Marine Life medics who worked very closely with the RSPCA, vets, Coastguard, fire services and Humber rescue to ensure the safe return of the whale to its mother.
'We are all just relieved the whale has been successfully reunited with his mother.'
A spokeswoman for Humber Coastguard said: 'The larger whale has not been seen for a while, so we believe that is also heading back out to sea.'