27 September 2008
A seven metre orca nicknamed Nobby is back at sea after a dangerous dance with death on Papamoa Beach in the Bay of Plenty on Saturday morning.
Crowds of thousands drew as Department of Conservation staff, Project Jonah volunteers and local residents worked tirelessly to keep the 30 year old, adult male orca wet and cool. Joined by orca expert, Dr Ingrid Visser, the orca was eventually moved into an upright position and a deep trench dug out to sea to draw seawater in to help refloat him.
Onlookers continued to flock to the beach to watch the rescue mission unfold, and by 2.30pm the vast crowds cheered as Nobby swam confidently back out to sea.
To read the personal stories of Stephanie Jeffries and Jo Wixey, two Project Jonah medics who helped out on the day, click here