Dozens of whales died hours after they ran aground on a beach in Western Australia, the authorities announced.
The 51 long-finned pilot whales were among a group of about 100 cetaceans spotted off Chains Beach near the coastal city of Albany, about 400 km southeast of Perth.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife in the state stated that it is seeking, in cooperation with volunteers, to rescue 46 stranded whales that are still alive, and that it intends to lead them into deeper waters during the day.
A spokesman for the administration indicated that it had been flooded with "hundreds of offers to help", but confirmed that it had a sufficient number of volunteers, calling on the public to "stay away" from the beach.
"The priority of the Incident Management Team is to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers," as well as the rescue of cetaceans, he added.
She explained that a "variety of hazards" existed in the area of operations, including "the presence of large stranded and potentially sick cetaceans, sharks, waves, large equipment and boats".