PONTIAN: The sight of a beached whale at the Rambah shoreline caused a commotion among the locals here today.
The whale, measuring around 20m long, was spotted around 2pm some 50m from the beach.
It was learnt that the whale had been swimming in the Pontian waters since morning.
A fisherman identified only as Aris said he had noticed that a large blackish object gliding on the ocean surface but he was unable to make out what animal it was.
"I was shocked when I learnt that the large animal was a whale. This is the first time I have seen a whale up close," he said.
The whale's presence also caused a buzz on the social media, with locals uploading pictures and videos of the animal.
Fearing that it could become stranded in the shallow waters, the Pontian Baru Fire and Rescue Department was deployed to rescue the animal.
The station's special operation chief Jumaat Sailan said this was the first time he and his unit had to face such a unique rescue mission.
He said they had to respond quickly to get the animal back to the open sea as it was still alive and moving.
"We had to tug it out from the shallow sandy water by tying its tail and pulling it using a fishing vessel. With the help of the fishermen there the whale was back in deep water by 3.30pm," he said.
The number of onlookers began to swell at the beach, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare sighting.