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Large Whale Washes Ashore In Atlantic Beach, Long Island; Likely Hit By Passing Ship

ATLANTIC BEACH, NY (WCBS 880/AP) - The stench was overwhelming, but the sight was a sad one.

Some 30 tons of dead, rotting, decomposed whale were being sliced up by marine biologists this morning.

Scientists say that a huge finback whale that washed up on the shore in Atlantic Beach, Long Island was likely hit by a passing ship.

Kimberly Durham of the Riverhead Foundation lead the team that performed the necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Atlantic Beach Whale
Workers perform a necropsy on a whale - Atlantic Beach, NY - Jun 9, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

"One of the things we want to try to do is rule out any kind of human interaction which  would be vessel strike, entanglement, plastic debris, anything like that," she says. "And then also, in that process, we'll be rendering the carcass into smaller pieces so we can effectively remove it."

She says the 30-ton male had been dead about a week.

Biologists found bruising and damage to its tail. The likely cause of death was blunt-force trauma from striking a ship.

She said the whale probably was feeding close to shore when it was hit.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Beach Thursday Morning


The whale carcass will eventually be hauled away and incinerated.

Onlookers were staring in amazement at the giant creature, most calling it sad.

"I feel real sad. Yesterday, I couldn't even come down here. You know, I've always come down and some friend sent me pictures, but I just couldn't come down here and this morning, I guess I just came to say goodbye," said one woman.

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