Holidaymakers at a popular Long Island beach in New York got an early morning surprise when a large whale washed up on the sand.
The unfortunate animal was a huge fin whale that came in at 40ft long and 25 tons.
Witness Catherine Ferrante told NBC New York: 'I'm shocked. I never saw anything like that before.'
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation was called to Atlantic Beach to remove the animal from the beach.
As well as being very sad, beachgoers said the scene was also extremely smelly.
The Riverhead Foundation director and senior biologist Rob DiGiovanni said that the whale had been spotted by fishermen off of the New Jersey shore already dead days ago, and the group had been tracking it since Saturday.
Biologists with the foundation are performing a necropsy - the animal equivalent of an autopsy - to determine what killed the large creature. DiGiovanni told nydailynews.com that initial findings seem to indicate the animal suffered blunt force trauma.
He said he also hoped that the public would continue to inform them of whale sightings -- so that they could be there to help and also monitor local marine activity.
This isn't the first time beachgoers have come across a dead whale on the beach in New York.
Last April, a juvenile humpback whale died after being trapped in the sand in East Hampton.
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