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Mar-06-2009 21:28printcomments

Officials Fear Whale Near Florence Tried to Reach the Beach

OSP, NOAA and US Coast Guard Monitor Whale near Ocean Shore north of Florence (Photos)‏ The whale apparently was able to move away from shore as the tide moved in.

Beached whale
Photos: Oregon State Police

(FLORENCE, Ore.) - A Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted a whale today that they believed had beached itself about one mile north of Driftwood Shores near Sutton Creek in the Florence area.

Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Scott Salisbury says a report came in at approximately 6:00 p.m. from the helicopter crew, who advised that they were monitoring the whale.

An Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife trooper, personnel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Mammal Stranding Unit from Newport, and the US Coast Guard monitored the whale in shallow surf for over 3 1/2 hours.

Salisbury says the whale was estimated to be between 40 and 50 feet in length and was seen floating in shallow surf off the beach.

OSP and NOAA personnel were unable to confirm the whale species, Salisbury said.

It also was unclear whether the whale was intentionally trying to beaching itself.

As the tide continued inward around 5:45 p.m., the whale appeared to be moving away from shore.

OSP, NOAA and the US Coast Guard helicopter unit continued to monitor the whale until darkness.

No more information is available.

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