A NOAA law enforcement officer says about 20 beluga whales were stranded in Turnagain Arm.
Officer Noah Meisenheimer says he spotted the whales on the mudflats of Turnagain Arm at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. He says they were clustered up in a small pool at low tide.
Meisenheimer says the tide was beginning to come in. He says the Alaska State Trooper plane he was on stayed in the area until the whales began to wiggle themselves free. He says they appeared OK.
Cook Inlet's beluga whales are endangered. Whale experts say one of the dangers they face is the possibility of large numbers dying in a stranding on the mudflats.
Last year's survey put their numbers at 284, about 20 percent fewer than in 2010.