Five pilot whales are dead after a stranding on a beach in Falcarragh, Co Donegal today.

The pod of 13 whales were spotted by a holidaymaker out jogging on Ballyness Beach at 8am.

The whales had beached above the water mark and were in distress.

A rescue effort was launched by locals, but four of the whales had already died.

A JCB was used to drag the whales to the sea, where locals helped them into deeper water, however several of them beached again and became very distressed.

Nine whales were put back to sea, however one juvenile whale died shortly afterwards. 

There are now reports that six or seven of the eight whales have beached again further down the strand.

Locals fear if they cannot get the whales back to sea now they will die tonight.

The carcasses of the dead whales are to be brought to a facility in Co Cavan where tests will be carried out to determine the cause of the stranding.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group say this is the 13th stranding in Donegal this year.