The whale had drifted into shallow waters near the Jaitapur power plant in Ratnagiri district.

"It appeared emaciated and must have drifted some days ago. But since this is an isolated spot, it was spotted on Saturday and we were informed by the locals," N Vasudevan, chief conservator, mangrove conservation cell, said.

As it was late evening that day, rescue operations using boats and fishing nets were carried on Sunday. The operation lasted six hours and the whale was led into the deep seas.

This is the second successful rescue of a blue whale in the same region, he said.

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