Injured sperm whale euthanized after beaching along Oak Island

OAK ISLAND, N.C. — A necropsy is planned for a sperm whale that beached itself in Oak Island, North Carolina. A marine mammal rescue team tried to help it back out to sea, but ultimately had to euthanize the dying animal.

News outlets reported that the distressed whale drew crowds all day Thursday. It's skin had been cut and it lost significant amounts of blood, turning the tide red around its massive body.

"This animal is just in the surf right now on its right side," University of North Carolina-Wilmington biologist William McLellan told WWAY. "It's still breathing but at this size, you can't really pick them up and move them around. It's a very difficult situation."

People at the beach tried to keep the whale wet by dousing it with wet towels until the biologists arrived.

Betsy Herron, who lives on Oak Island, swam out to the whale at one point. She said "It may seem crazy, but I wanted it to know that it wasn't alone and there's hope."

But McLellan said it was emaciated and had probably been in distress for weeks.

Sperm whales are an endangered species, biologists said.

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