Two whales meet tragic end after beaching off Fraser Is
UPDATE: IT WAS a case of misadventure for the two humpback whales who tragically died after beaching themselves off Fraser Island, said a whale tour operator.
Blue Dolphin owner Peter Lynch said it was rare for whales to venture into that part of the Great Sandy Strait.
"It's a shallow, narrow area that's difficult for vessels to navigate," Mr Lynch said.
"There's a few whales that go down that way each season."
With the rapid increase in whale numbers, Mr Lynch said it was only expected that there would also be more whale deaths from accidents.
There is estimated to be 27,000 whales migrating this season, which is double what the number was just years ago.
"As the population increases, more and more will die naturally and more will die from fatality events like being hit by ships," he said.
"And more will die from human effect like being trapped in fishing gear."
UPDATE TUESDAY 9.30 AM: Rangers will today remove the carcasses of two whales that beached themselves off Fraser Island.
A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman has confirmed the pair died overnight.
"It's a matter of securing their carcasses so they don't float away and become a hazard," the spokesman said.
Environment protection rangers worked frantically last night to rescue two beached whales stuck at Sheridan Flats, between Fraser Island and the mainland.
The rangers tried to refloat the whales on high tide yesterday about 3.30pm but failed, with one whale moving just 100 metres.
The pair was spotted by rangers at 9.30am Monday while on their way to undertake a planned burn.
The department said the 10m and 12m humpbacks were stranded in a similar place to where a pod of killer whales were successfully freed in 2013.
Last night the QPWS rangers were trying to comfort the whales during low tide before again trying to refloat them at the next high tide.
EARLIER: TWO humpback whales will remain stranded on a sandbank off Fraser Island into the night after attempts to rescue them failed.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers spotted the 10 and 12 metre long humpbacks about 9.30am Monday in the Great Sandy Strait, south-west of the island.
A QPWS spokeswoman said the rangers then worked on keeping the pair comfortable in hopes they would soon swim free.
"Rangers have been comforting the whales, keeping them wet and shaded while waiting for high tide at approximately 3.30pm in hopes the whales will re-float," the spokeswoman said.
But the high tide failed to set the whales free, and the two mates continued to struggle together.
Due to darkness and weather conditions, rangers returned to shore but plans were in place to return to the site today.
The rangers were originally on their way to conduct a planned burn on Fraser when they spotted the distressed whales.
The whales are stranded at a similar spot to where a pod of stranded killer whales were successfully rescued in July 2013.
It had suffered deep cuts to its dorsal fin.
After being left overnight, rangers were not able to find it again.
The carcass of another whale has been attracting large sharks in Platypus Bay for the past three weeks.
Stranded whales should be reported immediately to the RSPCA on 1300 264 625.