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Thursday, February 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Workers begin cutting up whale carcass at surfing area

A crowd gathers around the massive carcass of a whale at a popular California surfing spot Tuesday in San Clemente, Calif. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)
A crowd gathers around the massive carcass of a whale at a popular California surfing spot Tuesday in San Clemente, Calif. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)
By James Queally Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – Workers on Thursday began the process of cutting up and carting off a 40-foot whale carcass that washed up at San Onofre State Beach in Orange County earlier this week, a California state parks official said.

Kevin Pearsall, a public safety superintendent for California state parks in Orange County, said the vendor began working early Thursday to remove the carcass, a process that could take up to two days.

“We continue to recommend that everybody stay away,” said Pearsall, who has warned that the removal process likely will be gruesome.

The whale died at sea before washing up Sunday near Lower Trestles, a popular surfing destination. Tourists and curious locals have swarmed the area in recent days as officials tried to figure out how to remove the giant mammal.

Pearsall said removal crews likely will need to shut down a 300-yard stretch of the beach as they bring in large machinery. Officials initially considered towing the whale into the open ocean, but feared its remains would drift back.

Ultimately, the whale’s remains likely will end up at an area landfill, according to Pearsall, who said the animals wash up on California State Park land once or twice a year.

Oregon likely holds the record for the most nightmare-inducing removal of a whale.

In 1970, Oregon Highway officials used dynamite to eliminate a carcass on a beach near Florence, Ore., sending a torrent of bloody blubber raining across the area.

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