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Last Updated: Thursday August 06 2009 09:52 GMT

Giant whale rescued from beach

Newsround's Gavin and a whale

Gavin finds out why whales get stranded

A 15m long, 50 ton Blue Whale has been towed to safety after beaching itself in shallow water.

The monster animal was found near the beach at Hveravík in southern Iceland on Monday morning.

Police called in a vet, and along with local people, made two attempts at taking the whale to safety.

On their first effort, the whale simply beached itself again, but on the second go it swam back out to sea, and hopefully, to safety.

It's thought the whale is in good shape because after it was out of shallow water, it towed the 20 ton boat for part of the rescue.

A blue whale

Stranded Blue Whale rescued from beach

Hannes Leifsson Stephensen, of the local police, said: "The whale then circled two or three times, then raised its tail like waving goodbye and swam away. And we haven't seen it since."

Blue Whales are the largest animals that have ever existed on Earth, with some reaching over 30m long.

They are endangered because of hunting last century, so saving even one is a big deal.