A baby whale came to the rescue of its mother after she became stranded on a sandbar near Stradbroke Island, off the coast of Brisbane, Australia. Video footage showed the pair had been swimming in shallow water when the incident took place.

The humpback whale, who was only half-submerged in the water, appeared distressed, flailing in the water in an attempt to free herself, but to no avail. Shortly afterwards, her calf is seen nudging her.

Rescue crews had been alerted to the situation and were on their way to assist the whale. According to Australia's 9 News channel, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) had hoped moving tides would help the whale to shift, but had planned to stabilise her until more experienced help arrived from Sea World, which is based further south on the Gold Coast.

However, when they arrived the pair had already managed to escape and swim away to deeper waters thanks to the younger whale, who circled the mother pushing her in different directions until she managed to free herself.

The QPWS said it was the second time in a week the unlucky pair had found themselves stranded. Earlier the same two whales were believed to have been stranded off the north-west coast of the island at Dunwich.

The Parks and Wildlife service said it had a boat trailing the whales to ensure they could now make it out of the shallow waters and into the sea.

A spokesman told the BBC after the incident: "The whale was able to free itself and the adult and the calf were able to swim away," adding: "The mother was a bit tired and distressed."

According to the Australian Government's Department of the Environment and Energy, it is not uncommon for whales and dolphins to become stranded. Strandings generally occur in species usually found in deep oceanic waters and there are many reasons why they happen. For example, as a result of disorientation, the shape of the coastline and panic.

Earlier this year a baby orca died after becoming beached in Tauranga harbour, New Zealand.

Stranded whale
Whale strandings are not uncommon, according to Australia's Department of Environment and Energy.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images