WELLINGTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- A group of 50 pilot whales beached on the top of New Zealand's South Island were still in danger late Saturday after most of them were refloated, but stranded again during the day.
Thirteen of a pod of 53 whales originally stranded on Farewell Spit early Saturday had died, but the remaining 40 were refloated later in the morning, according to the Department of Conservation (DOC).
However, the 40 whales later returned to the shore with another 10, and six more whales were still in the sea nearby, DOC ranger John Mason said in a statement.
DOC rangers and volunteers were keeping the whales as comfortable as possible and wet with buckets of sea water in the hope the whales would come afloat in the midnight high tide, he said.
It was hoped they would find their way safely out to sea once afloat, but some or all might re-strand.
It is the third mass stranding on Farewell Spit in less than two weeks.
Twelve pilot whales died and DOC staff euthanized another 27 after a mass stranding on Jan. 6.
Another nine pilots whales were euthanized and five died after a second mass stranding on Jan. 14.