Dead blue whale washes ashore in Daly City

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Dead blue whale washes ashore in Daly City
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The dead blue whale was first spotted floating in the ocean on Wednesday.

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Marine Mammal experts plan to go to a Daly City beach, where the carcass of a blue whale washed up Wednesday afternoon.

The whale is in a remote spot of Thornton State Beach.

This is the first blue whale to wash ashore on the Bay Area coast in six years.

The dead male blue whale washed up directly below a steep cliff in a remote section of the Daly City coast.

It was first spotted floating in the ocean about a quarter mile offshore.

Ernesto Fong hiked down the cliff hoping to find it. "I think once a year, a whale gets washed up in Pacifica and I don't really want to drive down there even though it's really close. But right now, it's next to home so it gives me a reason to take a hike down," he said.

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito will be leading a team of scientists who'll be conducting a necropsy. They say they've responded to 30 washed up cetaceans so far this year, but none were blue whales -- an endangered species.

In fact, they've only responded to blue whales seven times in the center's 41-year history.

The most recent was six years ago when a female carrying a fetus washed ashore at Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo County. It died of blunt force trauma after being hit by a ship.

Blue whales are the largest animal on Earth. They measure up to 98 feet and can weigh up to 170 tons.

Daly City residents who heard about the whale came to the cliff to see it for themselves and they were not disappointed. "It's really big. I've never seen a whale in person, so it's pretty amazing actually," Daly City resident Ryan Tyler said.

As to how the whale died, scientists are hoping to find out. They could conduct a necropsy as early as Thursday.