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Photos, video show response to mass beaching that left 3 pilot whales dead

About 20 whales stranded themselves at St. Simons Island on Tuesday.

Newly-obtained photos and a video show the response on Tuesday to a mass beaching of about 20 pilot whales at St. Simons Island.

A Facebook video originally showed people frantically trying to help the whales get back out to sea. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources later confirmed the incident, with three of the whales dying.

RELATED: Why do pilot whales beach themselves?

The newly-obtained photos and video show the whales left on the beach, and the efforts to drag them away.

According to the DNR, mass beachings by pilot whales is a known natural occurrence. 

The group was seen swimming offshore Wednesday, the department said in an update, and was being monitored by the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

A senior wildlife biologist who leads the DNR's work with marine mammals, Clay George, said he was "cautiously optimistic" the threat of further strandings had passed.

A search of other area beaches, marshes and waterways did not turn up anymore stray whales, the DNR said.

"Among cetaceans - the order of marine mammals including whales, dolphins and porpoises - pilot whales are the most common species known to strand in mass numbers," the DNR said.

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