The humpback whale that stranded on a sandbank near the Wadden Sea island of Texel on Wednesday is still alive and occasionally flaps his tail, workers from the Ecomare marine centre told Nos television on Thursday.
The animal is 12 metres long and weighs some 25 tonnes so pulling him into deeper water is not an option, they said. Rescuers had hoped the whale would be able to leave of his own accord at high tide.
At one point the whale did free himself from the sand but returned after an hour, Nos television said. Rescuers said at that point they expected the giant mammal to die because low water levels allows the weight of his body to press on vital organs.
They are now considering placing a net under the whale, so he can be towed off when high tide returns.