India whales beached in Tuticorin
Most of the beached whales are 10ft in length and adults - representational imageDylan Martinez/Reuters

As many as 400 small-fin whales have washed ashore in the coastal city of Tuticorin, in southern India. Perplexed marine experts and government authorities have rushed to the spot to investigate the cause of the incident.

Nearly 25 of them have died as government authorities are undertaking measures to send the live ones back to the sea. Isaac Jeyakumar, assistant director of the fisheries department in Tuticorin, told IBTimes UK that anywhere between 300 and 400 whales have been beached in several coastal villages since the evening of 11 January.

Jeyakumar, who is at the spot overseeing rescue measures, said the scenario of beaches being filled by fin whales was "unbelievable and unprecedented". He added that local experts are speculating a change in the tide current could be behind the incident but did not elaborate on the possible cause. Fishermen in the area were the first to quickly alert the government authorities over the beached whales. Local reports suggest some dolphins have also washed ashore.

Most of the whales are around 10ft in length and adults. Jeyakumar said there is no major change in the weather conditions in the region during the past few days. The port city of Tuticorin is located nearly 600km from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.