Baby whale freed from River Thames on Sunday evening

A small whale has been freed after it became stranded along the River Thames in south-west London on Sunday evening.

Hundreds gathered at Richmond Lock and Weir after the whale, believed to be a Minke and between three to four metres long, became stuck on the lock’s boat rollers.

It is thought the whale was first spotted earlier on Sunday a few miles up the river near Barnes Bridge, before becoming stuck on the lock’s boat rollers in Richmond.

RNLI rescuers arrived at about 21:00 to help the animal, which is approximately 3-4m long, off the concrete.

Police, fire crews and the RNLI teams eventually freed the beached whale using an inflatable pontoon device and they towed it downstream before it swam free near Isleworth.

A spokesman said the whale was injured, stressed and tired and it is unknown whether it will make it back to the sea.

Peter Manning, LNP Image

Jake Manketo, 20, from Richmond, told the BBC “Everyone here is just hoping they get it out.

“We couldn’t believe our eyes when we first saw the poor fella, not every day something like this happens in Richmond.”

Minke whales are the smallest of the great whales, growing to about 10m and can usually be found throughout the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

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