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Updated: Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:26:48 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Beached whale carcass falls apart during move



Crews had a difficult time dragging the carcass of a beached humpback whale to a deep grave on the beach. Eventually, contractors had to use the backhoe to tear the whale into pieces to get it buried. CBC

Crews had a difficult time dragging the carcass of a beached humpback whale to a deep grave on the beach. Eventually, contractors had to use the backhoe to tear the whale into pieces to get it buried. CBC

Crews in a community on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula weren't expecting a messy operation when they started hauling a humpback whale carcass off the beach, but that's what they got.

The dead whale had washed ashore in Lamaline last weekend, and the town wasn't sure how to dispose of it properly.

According to Mayor Maureen Flemming, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Newfoundland and Labrador Government advised the town it was on its own for disposing of the whale.

Flemming said the first idea was to drag the whale back out to open waters using a boat and tow it to a remote beach to be buried, but the rocky coast of the beach posed problems for most boats.

Instead, crews dug a 3.6-metre grave on the beach where the whale washed up, and planned to drag it into the hole — but the carcass had other ideas.

Innards started to spill out of the dead whale's mouth, and dragging it over the hill to the grave was harder than contractor Mark Pike anticipated.

At one point, the backhoe he was using to drag the carcass almost tipped over from the weight of the whale.

An average adult humpback whale is anywhere from 13 to 19 metres long, and weigh 39,000 kilograms.

"I was hoping it was going to haul where it was so slippery, he had no other choice but to come," he said.

"[But] the chain kept busting and the strap busted, so [I tore] him apart."

Pike used the backhoe to tear the whale carcass into pieces to gradually drag it to its final resting place.

With the carcass buried, residents can breathe a sigh of relief that the stench of rotting whale won't permeate their town.

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