When humans interact with large native species’ in a positive way, the outcome can only be a compassionate one to onlookers. Such is the case that occurred on an Alaskan island called the Prince of Wales. As stately of a place as it sounds, seeing a gigantic Orca whale stranded on land was enough to spur locals into action. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the large mammal was wedged into the mossy rocks onshore and couldn’t find its way back out to sea. That’s when bystanders took it upon themselves to pour water on the 20-foot mammal until the tide was high enough to take the killer beauty back out and give it a chance to experience freedom once again. A nearby vessel named the Steadfast was the first to spot the stranded orca. On July 29th at 9 a.m., the captain and crew of the vessel reported that the mammal was around 4 to 5 feet from the tide line. The sighting alone was enough for them to track it and keep the whale in view until Alaska Wildlife Troopers and an officer with NOAA arrived and was able to assess the situation, take action, and hope for the best.

Apparently, the orca was still alive and seeking refuge amongst the rocks on Prince Island when the NOAA fisheries immediately approved the use of a seawater pump to keep the stranded killer whale wet and deter predatory birds from feasting on a potential carcass. NOAA’s mission was to allow enough water to keep the whale alive until high tide rolled in and swept the mammal back out to sea. Yet the assistance of kind passers-by, who were also involved in maintaining the heartbeat of the orca, continued to pour water onto its body in an effort to see the creature return to its native waters. A video was posted to the TikTok social media platform with captions such as “The craziest experience!” with several mesmerizing comments following suit. Most of the video action taken by the bystanders–who stepped into the rescue efforts–were met with captions of “the whale seemed more lively” as they continued to pour water on the gigantic beast to help it along.

How the whale got stranded in the first place is a mystery, however, NOAA claims that perhaps the orca was hunting and simply lost its way amongst the large rocks. The tide was ebbing towards the low side as the whale was chasing prey, therefore it had no means to swim back out to sea. NOAA waited in vain to see if the whale would return to the sea once the tide flowed back high around 5:30 p.m., although two hours before the high tide peak, the black and white magnificent creature swam back out as the ocean naturally carried her. The orca’s identity was then confirmed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries as a 13-year old Bigg’s killer whale. Following the orca’s lengthy ordeal on land and back out to sea, NOAA captured extensive photos and is examining them to determine whether or not she was injured during the six-hour pursuit to get her back to safety.