Sad End for Beached Finback Whale That Washed Up in Breezy Point, Queens

NY Daily News - December 28, 2012

by Larry Mcshane

The tale of the Breezy Point whale had no happy ending.

The beached 60-foot finback died early Thursday after washing ashore for the second time in as many days, said Robert DiGiovanni, senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said in a call from the beach. “But this whale was sick for a long time. It weighed about half of what it should have.”

The malnourished mammal of as-yet undetermined gender was discovered Wednesday morning in the Queens beachfront neighborhood, where local residents — battered by Hurricane Sandy — banded together in a fight to save the whale’s life.

Their efforts, abetted by city firefighters and police officers, were not enough to keep the creature alive for much longer.

The whale, which weighed about 25 tons, drifted back out to sea during Wednesday’s high tide before floating back Thursday morning.

When healthy, an adult finback can weigh as much as 70 tons, hit speeds of 35 mph and cruise at about 14 mph.

The prognosis for the whale was poor from the start, according to marine biologists on the scene. The creature was bleeding from its mouth and tail when local resident Louis Bassolino spotted it.

Officials hoped to perform a necropsy on the massive mammal on the beach where it died.It was unclear if the whale would be buried on the beach or carted off for burial somewhere else, DiGiovanni said.