The health of awhale that was freed after getting stuck in London's River Thames was failing on Monday, with rescuers reporting the sea mammal was "not really going anywhere" and could be euthanised.
The smallMinkewhale, believed to be up to 4 metres long, was first seen atRichmond Lock Bridge, south-west London, late on Sunday.
Images taken by residents showed themammal had become stuck on the lock's boat rollers.
A seven-hour rescue attempt concluded at 1 am on Monday with thewhaleswimming off.
But after being spotted in Teddington, 4 kilometres south of Richmond,later onMonday, the whale was "staying in oneplace" and appears to be injured, a spokesperson for Britain'sRoyal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Crews were waiting for the tide to change so the whale can be moved on to a stretcher and towed east towards the ocean.
However, a short timelater, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue service (BDMLR) said the whale's condition had "deteriorated rapidly over the last couple of hours."
"The animal is positioned against the river wall and the tide is now dropping quickly and it is expected the animal will be beached very soon," a statement fromBDMLR said.
Medics will try to position themselves to prevent the whale entering deep water again where it is now having difficulty swimming as its strength reserves seem to be compromised.
"Once the whale is beached a veterinary team will be on stand by to euthanise the animal to end its suffering, in the meantime the team will continue to do what they can to care for the animal under these sad circumstances."
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