Dead Whale Washes Ashore at Silver Strand State Beach

Humpback taken to Otay Mesa landfill

A dead whale washed ashore Tuesday at Silver Strand State Beach on Coronado Island.

The 23-foot carcass appeared to be a humpback whale calf that was dead before it washed ashore, according to a San Diego National History Museum employee.

Park workers taped off the area of the beached whale to keep spectators, who were snapping photos, at distance for public safety concerns, including bio hazard.

The whale had been found between the park entrance and parking lot 1.

Park officials told NBC 7 that they had contacted the National Oceanic Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA), which will determine how to move the beached whale.

NOAA was conducting a forensic investigation of the carcass to determine the whale's cause of death.

On Wednesday, the whale was removed using a contracted hauler and taken to an Otay Mesa landfill.

A woman visiting San Diego from Utah spotted the whale Tuesday morning and said it was an unexpected and sad sight.

"I just came down to search for some seashells on the beach and I came across something different," Jeni Galbraith said. 

"Just sad," she added. "You don't want to see anything like this."

Tina Matthias of the Living Coast Discovery Center said she suspects the calf became separated from his mother during the El Nino storm.

"Probably got washed up with the storm, unfortunately," she said.

The whale was first spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday night nine miles off shore dead in the water; since Monday night, witnesses on Coronado have reported seeing it washed ashore.

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