A 35-foot male humpback whale became stranded and died after it washed up on the shore of a Long Island beach Monday morning, officials said.
The massive mammal first became beached on Lido Beach in the town of Hempstead at 6:30 a.m. and died just 30 minutes later, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin told Gothamist. Crews were dispatched immediately and began using construction equipment to try and get the whale away from the rising tide.
“We had a heavy duty crane that, initially, some of the cables snapped, because when it beached itself, it really kind of dug itself into the shoreline,” Clavin said.
The area was secured to keep curious onlookers at a safe distance from the carcass.
“To see a whale of that size so close, it is stunning. But the circumstances surrounding it, to me, it was very, very sad and it was almost heartbreaking. Something so beautiful laying there,” Clavin said. “You can't help people's curiosity and I understand that.”
The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society was set to collect data on the animal on Monday, and plans on further examining the whale later this week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The organization is investigating an increase in humpback whale strandings since January of 2016.
After the whale stranded on Monday is thoroughly examined, Clavin said the town will work with state and federal governments to find it a proper burial site.