Minke whale stranded on Scottish beach refloated by rescuers 

Minke whale that has been stranded on a beach west of Elie in Fife
Minke whale that has been stranded on a beach west of Elie in Fife Credit: Andrea Kilver/PA

A minke whale which was found stranded on a beach in Fife has been refloated by volunteers.

The operation to save the stricken 20-foot whale was the second attempt after the stricken mammal was discovered by a passer-by on Friday afternoon.

It was carried out by a team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), the BBC reported.

Aberdeen Coastguard also sent teams to the scene.

An initial attempt was unsuccessful, with the whale returning to the beach, but rescuers are optimistic that the second effort has been successful.

Rescuer examines a stranded minke whale on the coast of Fife Credit: British Divers Marine Life Rescue/PA

"The whale's body condition was fair and it was not injured so we decided to refloat it on the high tide.

"We had pontoons in place but when we refloated it, it swam in a circle and re-beached itself.

"They found it and got it onto the pontoon again. It was still fairly strong and in a state to swim off the pontoon. We think it might just have got disorientated with the tide, so this time the RNLI followed it out to sea,” a BDMLR spokesman said.

In January last year the body of a minke whale which had been hit by a ship was swept onto  East Beach in  Shoeburyness, Essex.

Last June the body of a 23-foot adult whale was found washed up on the coast of Fife.  It is believed it died after becoming tangled in fishing gear.

Minke whales, which have an estimated lifespan of up to 50 years, can be found anywhere from the tropics to the ice edges of the northern hemisphere.