By Claire Bickers
Twelve have now died after becoming trapped against the rocky sea wall — but crews are currently ushering four whales out to deeper water.
The rescue operation was launched in the state’s South West after 20 long-finned pilot whales gathered in shallow water against the breakwater wall of Bunbury Harbour.
Six whales have been herded back out to sea by small boats and 12 have died since they became trapped up against the rocks of the sea wall.
Four whales are being stabilised at a nearby beach and another in the shallows by DPaW officers and volunteers and staff from the Dolphin Discovery Centre before they are also taken out to deeper water.
One of the whales that was towed out to sea has since become stranded and Department of Parks and Wildlife crews are again trying to take it to deeper water.
Three others who were ushered out to sea are not swimming strongly.
The Department has asked members of the public to avoid the area where the rocks and distressed whales pose a safety risk.
Rescue teams have been fighting for most of the morning to save the whales which became trapped against the rocks.
Some of the mammals are young calves.
Department of Parks and Wildlife officers are on the scene assessing the situation and sent an aircraft to monitor the area in case there are any more whales.
Boats are attempting to shepherd the whales out to sea and extraordinary ABC pictures show rescuers in the water with the struggling mammals.
Seven of the animals were dead when DPaW officers arrived at about 11am.
The aircraft has not spotted any more whales in distress.
A Department incident management team are liaising with the Bunbury Port Authority and Department of Fisheries. Photos.