Dead humpback whale washes ashore at popular LA beach

A dead humpback whale that washed ashore Thursday night at a popular Los Angeles beach has created a big, rotting problem for Fourth of July celebrants. It has also sent officials rushing to remove the massive animal before beachgoers descend upon the beach for the holiday weekend.

The 45-foot, 90,000-pound whale carcass washed ashore at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Ray at about 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the male cetacean was between 10-20 years old at the time of his death.

The Los Angeles County Lifeguard’s Twitter account tweeted out that there were no signs of trauma to the animal.

At present, crews are rushing to get the whale carcass off the beach as quickly as possible.

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"It's starting to smell … and decompose pretty rapidly," Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Ken Haskett told the Times.

According to KTLA, lifeguards on scene planned to wait until evening high tide on Friday (roughly 7:40 p.m. local time) to use a tractor to try to push the dead whale out to the ocean, at which point crews will attach tow lines to the whale’s tail (the strongest part of its body) and tow the carcass at least 6 miles offshore.

At that point, the expectation is that natural decomposition and marine life will take care of the carcass. Officials were asking the public to stay 200 feet away from the whale and out of the water until it was removed.

“Unfortunately, it’s here on Fourth of July weekend, when people want to come to the beach,” Haskett told KABC. “We ask that the people not come near the water here because you see the fluids are seeping out of it now, and those fluids pose a hazard, and you can already start to smell the stench from it, and this is only less than 24 hours.”

A midday attempt to remove the whale failed when a tow line attached to the rescue boats and the carcass snapped.

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