Stranded beluga whales spotted in Turnagain Arm

NOAA officials say 10 beluga whales became stranded in Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage.

NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the report came in early Tuesday afternoon.

She says a plane with two NOAA officers was sent to try and find the whales. She says 10 were spotted stranded on the western side of Turnagain Arm near Hope.

Speegle says low tide was 6 p.m. She says when the tide started coming in the whales were able to swim free.

The Cook Inlet beluga whales are endangered. Whale experts say one of the dangers they face is the possibility of large numbers dying in a stranding on the mudflats.

A survey last year put their numbers at 284. That is about 20 percent fewer than the year before.