Hundreds of people with the support of two excavators successfully rescued on September 3 a two-tonne whale measuring more than 7.5m long which was stranded on the Nam Hai beach of Co To Island in Quang Ninh province.

A fisherman named Nguyen Van Nam found the creature lying relatively deep on the shore of Co To Island, and informed local authorities who immediately launched a rescue operation.

Because of heavy rain, the rescue work faced a lot of difficulties. Two excavators dug up a canal leading to the sea and then people managed to put the whale on a canvas and dragged it to the canal to put it out to sea.

After more than two hours’ work, the whale headed back into deep waters to the joy of the rescue teams and residents on the island.

Nguyen Van The, a rescuer, said: "Everyone is very happy to do something useful for environmental protection. Those directly involved in the rescue were the happiest because they have done something of great significance."

Elder islanders said that so far residents have repeatedly rescued dolphins and sea turtles, among others on the beach, but this was the first time they have seen a whale washed up on Co To.

Vietnamese fishermen have considered whales as gods, calling them Ca Ong and worshipping them in the hope of good luck at sea. They believed that whales rescued people in danger and could bring them a better fishing season.-VNA