Coastguard warn public to avoid Northumberland beach where humpback has died

Howick Coastguard Rescue Team are working with Humber Coastguard and experts to remove a whale’s body from a beach and have warned the public to stay away.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 5:27 pm
The public are being urged to stay away.
Photo: Howick Coastguard Rescue Team
The public are being urged to stay away. Photo: Howick Coastguard Rescue Team

The rescue team were paged on Sunday at about 2pm by Humber Coastguard to reports of a whale beached between Craster and Dunstanburgh Castle.

A juvenile humpback whale had sadly died on the rocks. Due to the risks associated with this type of incident, bystanders were cleared from the scene and a cordon was set up.

Measurements and photographs were taken by the Coastguard Rescue Team and passed to Humber Coastguard for the Natural History Museum. British Divers Marine Life Rescue were requested by the team to monitor the cordon.

The whale is currently on the rocks. Photo: Howick Coastguard Rescue Team

On Monday a spokesperson for Howick Coastguard Rescue Team said: “The cordon was maintained until sunset with the hope the tide would take the whale back out to sea, but a check this morning revealed that this wasn’t achieved.

“A cordon has been maintained throughout the day by HM Coastguard and medics from BDMLR to ensure members of the public didn’t get too close to the whale.”

The whale will be moved at the earliest opportunity, but the public have been strongly urged to avoid the area.

The whale is partially decomposed and chemicals such as putrescine and cadaverine can leak out and stick to your body. Harmful bacteria will be present which can cause serious illness.

Whales can also carry up to 7,500 whale lice. These lice look for a new host.

The whale is on slippery, uneven rocks and is at risk of falling. Anyone walking across the rocks puts themselves and others at risk.

A spokesperson for Howick Coastguard Rescue Team said: “Please can we request that you do not visit the scene to see the whale and take pictures. Please let HM Coastguard, BDMLR and the Receiver Of Wrecks go about their duties without having to constantly move people away. We would like to thank you for your assistance in this.”

Remember, in an emergency at sea always call the Coastguard by dialling 999.