Rescuers lose struggle to save whale beached on English shore

Katy Holland

A 30ft sperm whale has died after becoming stranded on a beach in north east England.

Firefighters used their jet to spray the whale, which was reported to be alive when a tourist found it half-submerged on the beach at Redcar, Cleveland.

A Cleveland fire brigade spokesman said that the whale had died despite all their efforts to save it. A cordon was set up around the stricken whale to stop people getting too close and causing it stress.

Speaking in the Daily Mail, Richard Ilderton, of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who was called to the stricken creature, said the North Sea was the wrong environment for such a large creature, and any attempt to refloat it - even if it was possible - would have been cruel.

A police spokeswoman said: 'Police contacted the coastguard, the local authority, the fire brigade, RSPCA and specialist marine animal welfare agencies.

'Police kept a cordon round the animal while they awaited colleagues from other organisations to arrive.

'Sadly, the whale was pronounced dead just after 9am this morning (Tuesday).

'Arrangements for its disposal will be made by local authority environmental health officers and members of the public are asked to stay away from that area of the beach until this is complete.'

Hundreds of onlookers turned out during half-term to take in the spectacle.