Clay George, a biologist with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, told the New York Times that “something when wrong” for the creatures, which normally swim 100 miles (160 km) offshore.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that the group dodged a bullet and that they’re now on their way to deeper water,” Clay was cited as saying.
More than 100 pilot whales died in a mass stranding in New Zealand last year. It is not known why whales sometimes beach themselves. But the whales travel together in pods and are known to follow a leader, as well as gather around an injured or distressed whale, officials said.