It was a drama that brought central London to a standstill. As thousands of people looked on, rescuers struggled desperately to save a whale that had strayed up the River Thames into the heart of the city. It was very much alien territory for the Northern Bottle Nose and experts warned it would die unless it returned to the open. But it became clear the giant mammal had become too exhausted and disoriented to do this by itself and would need help. After trapping the whale, divers attached it to pontoons and gently loaded it onto a boat. The huge creature then began a journey downstream towards the sea where rescuers intended to release it.