Dead humpback whale washes up in Hampton Bays

The dead hump back whale washed ashore on the beach off Dune Road, just west of Triton Lane. (April 17, 2013)

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A Riverhead marine group is working with local authorities on a plan for conducting a necropsy and removing a dead humpback whale from a Hampton Bays beach, the group's director said Wednesday.

Robert DiGiovanni, senior biologist and director of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said he expects to have the whale, estimated to be about 35 feet long, out of the water and removed from the beach by Thursday.

DiGiovanni said the necropsy probably could be performed Thursday on the beach, and his scientists are in the process of "determining what resources local authorities have" to ensure the procedure and subsequent removal can be completed efficiently.

The whale washed ashore on the beach off Dune Road, just west of Triton Lane, about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"It's not an animal fresh dead, but it has not been dead a long time, either," DiGiovanni said.

Late Wednesday morning, a handful of people came to see and snap photos of the dead whale.

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"It's a shame," said John Murray, 65, of East Quogue, who was walking with his dog Nezzy. "It was such a magnificent animal."

Lifelong Long Islander Bruce Phillips Jr., 35, of East Quogue, said he'd never seen anything like it.

"It's pretty amazing how big it was," said Phillips, as his 3-year-old son, Bruce, got an up close look at the whale.Southampton Town Trustee Eric Schultz said the dead whale was a rare but not unprecedented sight.

By noon, a steady stream of visitors had come to view the dead whale.

"Oh my God!" said Virginia Reath, 60 of Hampton Bays as she crested the dunes.

"It looks like a balloon," said Jonathan Pearlman, 70, of East Quogue.

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