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Stranded sperm whale dies despite hours-long rescue attempt

Coastguards and staff from Hunstanton's Sea Life Centre worked overnight to try to free the whale Credit: Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary

A sperm whale found beached just off the Norfolk coast has died despite efforts to free it.

The 50ft young adult whale is believed to have been one of up to five that swam into the Wash at Hunstanton.

Four of the whales were reportedly beached in the shallow waters on Friday, but three managed to free themselves.

It is believed the remaining animal became distressed and injured its tail as it thrashed around.

The animal appears to have become stranded in the shallow water Credit: Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary

Coastguards and staff from Hunstanton's Sea Life Centre worked overnight to try to free it, but to no avail.

Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south looking for food but got disorientated.

"They feed on squid and what's probably happened is that squid came in and the whales fed upon them but ran out of food," he said.

The animal could have been part of a larger pod Credit: Hunstanton Sealife Sanctuary

Dr Evans believes they could have been part of a large pod, some of which beached in the Netherlands and Germany.

"There have been 12 other sperm whales that stranded and died, six in the Netherlands and six in Germany," he said.