A pod of what is thought to be up to seven sperm whales has washed up on an East Yorkshire beach.
Members of the coastguard and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) are on the beach, between Tunstall and Withernsea, near Hull.
No rescue is under way due to the sea conditions and the rising tide, a BDMLR spokesperson said.
The pod most likely consists of young whales who have suffered a “navigation error”, the spokesperson added.
Members of the public are being asked to stay away from the scene to allow the authorities to work safely, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.
A spokesman said: “Just before 8.30am today, HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public with a report of seeing a number of whales on the shoreline at Withernsea beach.
“Coastguard rescue teams from Withernsea, Hornsea and Easington have been sent.
“The number of whales involved is yet to be confirmed but initial reports suggest it may be up to seven.”
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Robin Petch, a marine expert and Sea Watch Foundation ambassador, said: “Sperm whales are a species that shouldn’t come into this part of the North Sea, but a few come down that way.
“They are a deep-water animal that feed on squid and dive in the deep waters of the continental shelf. Often younger males can end up confused in the shallower water off the east coast.
“Once they are ashore, chances of survival are very slim, none of the rescue equipment can deal with whales that big.
“The loss of a large group, probably of young males, is catastrophic.”