Orcas trapped by ice off Hokkaido not seen day after

Orcas trapped by ice off Hokkaido, northern Japan, were no longer seen in the area as of Wednesday morning.

Rausu Town officials said they hoped the orcas had been able to free themselves as the ice floes appeared to be loosening on Wednesday morning.

The orcas were first spotted about 1 kilometer off the coastal town on Tuesday morning. Video taken by a drone at about 10 a.m. on the day showed that there were about 10 of them, immobilized in waters packed with ice floes.

The operator of the drone, which is a marine wildlife surveyor, also confirmed about 17 similarly trapped orcas about 2 kilometers northeast of the original location about 6 hours later.

The town officials said they looked for the orcas for about 90 minutes from about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but did not see them.

The local weather observatory said seas in the area were still packed with ice floes.