More than 150 whales are stranded and 75 are estimated to be dead on a Western Australian beach.
The whales were spotted by distressed locals who captured images of the stranded animals washed up on the coast.
Parks and Wildlife confirmed 150 short-finned piled whales were stranded at Hamelin Bay, 10km north of Augusta on the Western Australia coast.
Leaarne Hollowood from Margaret River jumped out of bed to the scene when she heard about the whales on Friday morning.
She described the dreadful moment she discovered the whales swept up on the beach.
‘It was horrific, at first I thought they were all dead and that it was just the waves moving them around,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘As we got closer, I realised a lot were still alive, trapped on the rocks or in front of other dead whales, I just felt so helpless.’
‘I just wanted to comfort them and help them…I couldn’t bare to watch and not help, a lot of tears.’
A shark alert was released by the Western Australian Government advising beaches between Hamelin Bay and Boranup were closed.
‘A shark advice has been issued due to multiple whale carcasses being reported at Hamelin Bay, near the town of Augusta,’ the shark advice alert states.
Parks and wildlife incident controller Jeremy Chick said the main priorities were to ensure the welfare of the remaining live whales and the safety of everyone involved in the operation before any rescue attempt was made to herd the whales back out to sea.
‘The strength of the animals and the windy and possibly wet weather conditions will affect when and where we attempt to move them out to sea,’ he said.
‘The main objectives are to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers as well as the whales’ greatest chance of survival.’
Ms Hollowood said she would be going back to the scene on Friday afternoon to help.
‘Heading back there now, she said…apparently they need more people with wetsuits to help,’ she said.