Dead whale washes up on San Diego coast

Nov. 20, 2011 at 5:12 PM

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A dead 50-foot fin whale washed ashore at Point Loma in San Diego near the city's sewage treatment plant, officials said.

Workers at the Point Loma Waste Treatment Plant notified the Coast Guard that a large whale was beached near the facility in 4 feet of water Saturday afternoon, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma said it appeared as though the whale had not been dead long, as it was not decomposed.

A representative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was called to the site, identified the whale as a fin whale, Lerma said.

NOAA will likely investigate the whale's death, Lerma said, while lifeguards are responsible for the disposal of the body.

The fin whale is the second-largest species of whale, after the blue whale, and can grow to be about 75 feet and weigh up to 70 tons, NOAA reported. The mammals, which are on the U.S. Endangered Species List, can swim up to 23 mph.

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