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Friday, January 17, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Ferry strikes, injures humpback whale near Seattle

In this Dec. 27, 2018,  photo, a Washington State ferry heading into Elliott Bay is illuminated by the sun as the city behind remains under clouds in Seattle. Authorities say a Washington State ferry struck a whale Tuesday night, May 28, 2019, during a sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this Dec. 27, 2018, photo, a Washington State ferry heading into Elliott Bay is illuminated by the sun as the city behind remains under clouds in Seattle. Authorities say a Washington State ferry struck a whale Tuesday night, May 28, 2019, during a sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – A ferry hit a humpback whale near Seattle and the Coast Guard initially searched for the animal after passengers reported it was injured and bleeding.

The whale surfaced Tuesday about 5 feet in front of the M/V Wenatchee during its morning trip from Seattle to Bainbridge Island across Puget Sound.

The crew at first thought the ferry had hit a log but later spotted the whale alongside the boat, ferries spokeswoman Diane Rhodes said.

Passengers reported seeing the injured whale bleeding.

“The whale surfaced after being struck and gushing a lot of blood. It surfaced a few more times before sinking,” Seattle resident Beth Andrus told The Seattle Times.

Typically, a ferry crew member on the bridge looks out for whales or other obstacles in the water.

However, crew members did not see the whale coming Tuesday and did not have time to maneuver away from it.

The ferry was traveling at about 18 mph when the whale was struck about three minutes after the ferry left dock.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman Michael Milstein said the agency used a photo to identify the whale as a humpback.

The Coast Guard said it did not plan to actively search for the whale Wednesday, because it was hit in a high traffic area and could be spotted by another ship if it’s visible.

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