Dead whale to be taken away by lorry – but fate uncertain

The dead whaled washed up on Portstewart strand
The dead whaled washed up on Portstewart strand

A digger and a lorry were working to clear a gigantic dead whale from a north coast beach on Monday night.

The beast – identified as a sperm whale by the coastguard, and estimated to be up to 40ft long – washed up at around midday at Portstewart.

A woman had originally contacted the coastguard at around 8.20am after noticing a large unidentified object adrift at sea.

The dead whale had an injury to its stomach and as a result an orangey-red colour was visible, leading her to believe it could have been a boat, said coastguard watch manager Phil Atwell.

He said the land belongs to the National Trust, and its staff were on the scene while the coastguard cordoned off the area to stop the public touching it.

A salvage team had been waiting for the tide to ebb before trying to haul it onto a lorry earlier in the evening, he said.

The Coastguard cordoned off the area to staop onlookers touching the whale

The Coastguard cordoned off the area to staop onlookers touching the whale

He expected it to be cleared sometime on Monday night.

Asked what its ultimate fate would be, Mr Atwell said: “I have no idea.”

He said they may encounter only one such incident per year, and could not readily remember the last time it occurred.

However, in 2013, a whale had washed up elsewhere in Co Antrim.