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Whales Feared Dead After Failed Rescue Effort

November 29, 1993

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A mother and baby killer whale that volunteers had hoped to lead out of frozen waters of western Norway are feared to have drowned, officials said Monday.

Five whales had been trapped for more than three weeks in the Trongsundet, an arm of western Norway’s Trondheimsfjord. A private rescue effort begun Friday against the advice of government experts was called off Sunday after volunteers failed to lead the animals through a 7 1/2 -mile channel opened by an icebreaker.

The mother and baby whale swam under the 6-inch-thick ice and apparently drowned because they could not break through the ice to breathe.

The Swedish-Norwegian volunteer team attempted the rescue because they feared the whales would run out of fish to eat in the small area of open water.

″We warned against this action, and said the whales were in no immediate danger of starvation,″ said Fisheries Ministry spokesman Bjarne Myrstad. He said the whales have several square miles to swim in and ″now we want the other three left alone.″