On Monday afternoon they started coming ashore at Panadura, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Colombo, and officers gathered to help them get back to sea.
Locals joined the Coast Guard in tending Sri Lankan naval officers and whales.
Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) told the AFP news agency that it was one of the largest stranded whale pods in the South Asian country.
“It is very unusual for such a large number of people to reach our shores,” MEPA chief Dharshni Lahandpura told AFP.
Rescue teams worked overnight with the help of the Navy, Coast Guard, Lifeguards and residents.
At the request of Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Nishant Ulugten, the jet skis provided by the local water sports club were used to repel whales into the sea during the day and night, the Sri Lankan Navy statement said.
The deaths of four whales are being investigated. The Navy said the whale may have been stuck following a whale’s path.
Whales are very social animals and travel in pods, but the reasons for mass stranding are not clear.
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