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While Everyone Else Was Hungover, These People Came Together To Save A Whale's Life On New Year's Day

"People just started rolling in."

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Dozens of people pitched in to save a beached whale in Nova Scotia after the animal was discovered on New Year's Day.

Instagram: @loganyaschuk

Ron Yaschuk found the whale while walking his dog on Rainbow Haven Beach, about 15 kilometres east of Dartmouth.

"We're walking along and I could see something off in the distance," Yaschuk told BuzzFeed Canada. "I approach it and I see it's a whale."

It's unclear how long the 2,000-kilogram pilot whale had been on the sand, but it was still moving its tail and breathing through its blowhole, so Yaschuk hoped it wasn't too late.

After calling 911 to alert the authorities, Yaschuk got in touch with his son, who showed up with two others.

While waiting for animal rescue workers to arrive, the small group tried to keep the whale as comfortable as possible.

Instagram: @hmachappy

Yaschuk said they poured water on the whale and cleared some of the sand from its head. On the advice of Andrew Reid, the response coordinator for the Marine Animal Response Society, they also covered the whale with blankets.

After a while, the whale opened its one visible eye, and Yaschuk tried to communicate with it in order to offer some kind of reassurance.

"What do you say? You're talking to it, and just hoping that it's going to make it, and not knowing for sure if it would," he said.

Meanwhile, word got out on social media about the beached whale, and the response was incredible.

facebook.com

"People just started rolling in," Yaschuk said.

He estimated anywhere from 50 to 100 people were there on the front lines, with marine rescue workers directing the crowd. Another 100 or more were looking on eagerly from the sidelines.

Together, the crowd dug a trench to help give the whale an easier path back to the water. But the tide seemed to be working against them, moving farther away from the whale as they worked.

Eventually, they got the whale onto an inflatable raft, which let them drag the whale back to the water.

Instagram: @darcydabs

"Everyone was just wanting to get this animal out in the water and hopefully to live."

Instagram: @timbophoto

The rescue mission took several hours, but Yaschuk said it was an incredible way to start 2018.

"This year is going to be an awesome year. What else can you put against this? It's just amazing."

Instagram: @halifaxnoise

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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