Rescuers save small whale stranded in the Thames

a man in a wet suit riding a surfboard in the water: A small whale stranded in the River Thames is seen in this picture obtained from social media in London, Britain © Reuters/DAVID KORSAKS @dkfitldn A small whale stranded in the River Thames is seen in this picture obtained from social media in London, Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - Rescuers worked into the night on Sunday to free a small whale stranded in the River Thames in southwest London, local media reported.

The team of rescuers arrived at the scene near a lock in Richmond at around 21:00 BST (2000 GMT) shortly after the whale, believed to be a minke, was first noticed on Sunday evening, media reports said.

a group of people that are standing in the water: Rescue personnel work to save a small whale stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London © Reuters/RICHARD FRANK @RICHARDFRANK Rescue personnel work to save a small whale stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London

A small crowd of people gathered to watch as the team worked to remove the whale from the lock, hosing the animal down, and then putting a large yellow float around it, video footage obtained by Reuters showed.

a group of men riding on the back of a boat in the water: Rescue personnel work to save a small whale stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London © Reuters/RICHARD FRANK @RICHARDFRANK Rescue personnel work to save a small whale stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London

Nearly four hours later the whale was successfully moved to a safer location, the BBC reported.

The minke whale, a species commonly found in the North Atlantic Ocean, will be assessed by a vet to ensure it is healthy enough to be released, according to the BBC.

(Reporting by Thomas Newey and Iona Serrapica; Editing by Karishma Singh and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

a group of people that are standing in the water: A small whale stranded in the River Thames is seen in this picture obtained from social media in London, Britain © Reuters/DAVID KORSAKS @dkfitldn A small whale stranded in the River Thames is seen in this picture obtained from social media in London, Britain a man riding a skateboard next to a body of water: A small whale is seen stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London, Britain © Reuters/RICHARD FRANK @RICHARDFRANK A small whale is seen stranded in the River Thames in this picture obtained via social media, in London, Britain

Rescuers save small whale stranded in the Thames