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April 17, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Video: Phew! Dead whale in Burien avoids fate of Oregon’s infamous exploding whale

I’ve been wondering what might happen to the dead, beached fin whale in Seahurst Park. Poor thing. Its carcass stinks so bad, officials have warned curious onlookers to stay away.

A dead whale washed up on shore at Seahurst Park in Burien at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The whale, believed to be a Fin Whale is not usually seen in Puget Sound. A large crowd gathered throughout the day to see a whale up close. (GREG GILBERT/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

A dead whale washed up on shore at Seahurst Park in Burien at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The whale, believed to be a Fin Whale is not usually seen in Puget Sound. A large crowd gathered throughout the day to see a whale up close. (GREG GILBERT/THE SEATTLE TIMES)

According to this KING5 news report Tuesday, Burien city officials have “worked out an agreement with NOAA and Global Diving and Salvage to tow the whale to a secure location where it can decompose naturally.”

Phew! Considering the circumstances, this is a respectful and appropriate solution. The KING story also alludes to NOAA’s plans to collect samples and donate the whale’s skull.

I can’t help but be reminded of the fate of another creature found off the shores of Oregon more than four decades ago. When I moved to Portland in 2007¬† for a TV reporting job, I quickly learned about the legend of the “exploding whale.” On Nov. 12, 1970, state officials thought they could clear the problem by detonating a half-ton of dynamite. Let’s just say all did not go according to plan. Watch:

The bizarre incident¬† inspired this famous line written by Paul Linnman, the former KATU anchor who covered the story: “The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds!”

Here in Washington, the Associated Press reports 10 fin-whale carcasses have washed ashore since 2002.¬† For a couple days, Burien officials weren’t sure how to handle the situation. It’s good to see them collaborate in good faith with numerous organizations.

And thanks to Oregon’s notorious experience, at least we know what not do.

 

Comments | More in Video | Topics: burien, dead whale, exploding whale

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