UPDATED: Humpback whale strands again in Turnagain Arm

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Monday 11:00 p.m.:
NOAA said late Monday night that according to a reliable source, the young humpback whale has stranded again in Turnagain Arm.

Verena Gill with NOAA said the whale stranded again just a few miles south of where it beached earlier in the day, south of Girdwood. Gill said crews will be mobilizing again in the morning to try to assist the whale.

Updated 5:40 p.m.:
The whale swam free into deeper water just before 5 p.m.

NOAA says it hopes the whale will make its way north, and out of Turnagain Arm.

Original Story:
A young humpback whale stranded again Monday just south of Girdwood after stranding a first time this Sunday, according to marine mammal experts.

[WATCH: Channel 2's Derek Minemyer reports live from Turnagain Arm as rescuers tend to the stranded whale]

NOAA Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Coordinator Verena Gill says the young whale stranded near Bird Point on Sunday and became worn out after thrashing around on the mudflats for more than an hour. It eventually rose again when the afternoon tide came in and swam away. See video of part of Sunday's stranding below.

On Monday, the same whale was spotted further into Turnagain Arm stranded again.

Gill says that the whale may have followed a pod of belugas into the arm, and is likely young and unfamiliar with the area. She says she expects the whale to refloat again once the tide comes in around 4 p.m. Monday.

A NOAA marine mammal team is currently with the animal, keeping it wet and making sure it stays on its stomach until the tide can loosen it free.

Gill also notes observers have seen a larger whale in the area that she says could be its mother.

NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region spokesperson Julie Speegle says Girdwood Fire Department and Whittier Police are assisting on scene.

Speegle says they are working on a plan to get the whale to swim to deeper water so it can eventually leave Turnagain Arm. She is asking the public to stay away while teams work on freeing the whale.

If you ever spot a stranded marine mammal, you can report it to the NOAA hotline 24 hours a day at (877) 925-7773.

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