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More than 400 whales stranded on New Zealand beach

More than 400 pilot whales have become stranded on a New Zealand beach - with three-quarters already dead when they were found.

Authorities described it as the worst whale stranding they have ever seen.

The whales were found at remote Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island on Friday. It is an area that seems to confuse whales and has been the site of previous mass strandings.

Conservation workers and volunteers were hoping to refloat the surviving whales at high tide on Friday morning.

Volunteer rescue group Project Jonah said a total of 416 whales were stranded.

Department of Conservation spokesman Andrew Lamason told Radio New Zealand they were putting sheets and buckets of water on the surviving whales and trying to keep them calm.

AP

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