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Dead Whale Washes Ashore in San Diego, to be Towed to Sea

May 21, 2014 11:32 AM EDT

A dead fin whale washed ashore in San Diego on Monday; prompting plans to tow it back out to sea, officials say.

The 50-foot-long whale rolled up onto the sand near the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Diego, Cali. After being spotted just two days earlier, lifeless, off Coronado, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Looks like he's been dead for a while. he's pretty bloated," affirmed fisheries biologist Susan Chivers working with the NOAA, Maine News reported.

Initially, it was decided between lifeguards, city parks and recreation workers and personnel with the National Marine Fisheries Service that they would tow the dead whale to Fiesta Island in Mission Bay using a powerboat at high tide on Tuesday afternoon.

From there, it could be subjected to a necropsy to determine its cause of death.

But these plans went to the wayside because turns out the Parks and Recreation Department does not have the equipment necessary to take a carcass this size to a landfill once the necropsy is finished, according to the Times.

The current plan is to have city lifeguards tow the whale offshore, about a half-mile, using one of the city's twin-engine, 35-foot fire-rescue vessels.

Then, a stronger craft operated by the Marine Conservation Science Institute, a nonprofit research organization, will drag it more than 20 miles into the ocean.

For now, lifeguards have secured the whale to the rocky cove to keep it from floating away, lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan said.

"I think it's a pretty unique experience. Very few people actually get to experience a whale up close and personal like this," David Huntamer, a spokesman for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, commented, according to 10News.

Lifeguards speculated that the whale may have been hit by a ship.

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