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Pilot whales have been stranded on remote New Zealand beach since Friday

More than 100 have died

CNN  — 

Rescuers on Saturday refloated 66 pilot whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand as a race to save their lives continued.

Nearly 200 whales were beached Friday in Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island.

Scores got back in the water, only to return to land – leaving more than 100 dead.

When the incident started, 140 conservationists and experts rushed to water down the giant mammals, cover them and try to refloat them back into the water.

“Refloating stranded whales is a difficult and potentially dangerous job,” said Andrew Lamason, the department’s services manager for Golden Bay.

But if the efforts are unsuccessful, help may be needed Saturday to keep the whales cool and wet until the next high tide, authorities said.

But most of the time, it’s just one or two whales or dolphins. Mass strandings are rare, especially on the scale of what’s happening around Golden Bay.

CNN’s Greg Botelho, Jethro Mullen and Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.