"We're retrieved 70 whales or thereabouts off the sandbar and released them out to sea", state Parks and Wildlife manager Nic Deka said this morning.
At least 380 whales have died in a mass stranding in southern Australia, officials said Wednesday, with rescuers managing to free just a few dozen survivors.
The pod of long-finned pilot whales was first spotted on a wide sandbank during an aerial reconnaissance of remote and rugged Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania state on Monday, launching a hard rescue operation.
They were found between seven and 10 kilometres (four-six miles) from the first group, with the distance and tannin-stained waters meaning rescuers did not spot them sooner.
On Wednesday, rescue crews continued their attempt to save the whales by re-floating them, according to the wildlife service.
"I think we have a really good chance of getting more off the sandbar and out through the gates".
The group, which is the biggest beaching in the country's modern history, were first spotted a wide sandbank during an aerial reconnaissance of rugged Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania state on Monday.
A group of 60 conservationists, experts and fishermen are now fighting to save the remaining whales, with rescuers braving cold waters to reach the animals.
Adding: "We'll continue working for as long as there are live animals".
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Rescue crews will do a more extensive search now that more whales have been found, Deka said.
Members of a rescue crew stand with a whale on a sand bar near Strahan, Australia on September 22, 2020.
"They haven't stranded. So we've been more successful than not".
Tasmania is the only part of Australia prone to mass strandings.
In neighboring New Zealand, over 600 pilot whales washed up around the South Island in Farewell Spit in 2017.
Seventy pilot whales have been saved on Tasmania's west coast after Australia's worst mass stranding on record.
Unfortunately, Marine and Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon said in a statement, "There is little we can do to prevent this occurring in the future".
Long-finned pilot whales can be as long as 23 feet and weigh several tons.
Some researchers have suggested the pilot whales may have gone off track after being attracted to food close to the shoreline or by following one or two whales that strayed.