Watch CBS News

Dead whale washes ashore at Half Moon Bay beach

PIX Now 09:33

HALF MOON BAY -- A dead humpback whale washed ashore on a beach in Half Moon Bay Sunday, drawing a crowd of onlookers angling to get a close-up view.

CBS News correspondent David Pogue captured the progress of the whale carcass as it edged closer and closer to Manhattan Beach.

Once the whale washed ashore, it quickly became the focus of beach-goers and passers-by.

The Marine Mammal Center said Monday its scientists suspect blunt force trauma from a ship strike is the likely cause of the whale's death.

"This humpback whale had an extensive contusion over her right chest area, a fractured first cervical vertebra and its skull was dislocated from the spinal column," said the center's Director of Pathology Dr. Pádraig Duignan in a press statement. "These findings, combined with overall excellent body condition, strongly implicates [sic] blunt force trauma associated with a ship strike as this whale's cause of death."

The whale was a 49-foot adult female that was in a moderate stage of internal decomposition based on the quality of the skin, internal tissues and organs, the Marine Mammal Center said.

Humpback whales frequent the California coast to feed during the summer and fall months before migrating south to their winter calving and mating grounds off the coast of Mexico.

The mammal center said there have been 10 whale deaths in Bay Area waters in 2022; seven gray whales and 3 humpback whales. Four of them were attributed to ship strikes and four others were undetermined. One died of malnutrition and another died from a suspected orca attack.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.