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20 whales wash ashore in Georgia, so beachgoers rush to push them back into the ocean

Georgia Department of Natural Resources personnel and beachgoers struggle to keep a short-fin pilot whale from crashing into the seawall on St. Simons Island, Ga., Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Dozens of pilot whales beached themselves on a Georgia shore and most were rescued by authorities and onlookers who pulled the animals further into the water. (Bobby Haven /The Brunswick News via AP)
Georgia Department of Natural Resources personnel and beachgoers struggle to keep a short-fin pilot whale from crashing into the seawall on St. Simons Island, Ga., Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Dozens of pilot whales beached themselves on a Georgia shore and most were rescued by authorities and onlookers who pulled the animals further into the water. (Bobby Haven /The Brunswick News via AP) AP

When several half-ton whales drifted toward the shore in Georgia, beachgoers stepped in to help.

At least 20 of the pilot whales came onto St. Simons Island and lingered for a time near a rocky shoreline Tuesday, according to WTLV and video from a Facebook user.

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Georgia Department of Natural Resources personnel and beachgoers struggle to keep a short-fin pilot whale from crashing into the seawall on St. Simons Island, Ga., Tuesday, July16, 2019. Dozens of pilot whales beached themselves on a Georgia shore and most were rescued by authorities and onlookers who pulled the animals further into the water. (Bobby Haven /The Brunswick News via AP) Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News AP

People in swimsuits stepped into the ocean while the whales were nearly motionless, according to video on the page of Facebook user Dixie McCoy.

Both kids and adults “splashed water on the struggling animals, some of whom were crying out, and then tried to roll, push or drag the creatures into deeper water,” USA Today reports.

“When they went by the pier one wasn’t doing so good and people had to help it not hit the rocks,” a post on the Betty L Haynes Photography Facebook page says.

Rescue and wildlife agencies also joined the effort and helped bring some whales back into the ocean, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says.

The whole ordeal lasted about two hours, WJCL reports.

“This has been an unusual occurrence but events like these can really show the level of care and support from our community,” Glynn County Emergency Management and Homeland Security posted on Facebook.

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People on the St. Simons pier watch as Georgia Department of Natural Resources personnel and beachgoers struggle to keep a short-fin pilot whale from crashing into the seawall on St. Simons Island, Ga., Tuesday, July16, 2019. Dozens of pilot whales beached themselves on a Georgia shore and most were rescued by authorities and onlookers who pulled the animals further into the water. (Bobby Haven /The Brunswick News via AP) Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News AP

Some animals kept returning to the beach, and two of them died, according to a news release from Georgia officials.

They say pilot whales “are the most common species known to strand in mass numbers.”

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