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Dead whale washes onto east end of Fire Island

A dead humpback whale washed up Tuesday afternoon,

A dead humpback whale washed up Tuesday afternoon, April 21, 2015 near the east end of Fire Island, according to Fire Island National Seashore. Credit: Fire Island National Seashore

A dead humpback whale washed up Tuesday afternoon near the east end of Fire Island, according to the Fire Island National Seashore.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation was working with the National Park Service to respond, seashore park ranger Elizabeth Rogers said.

A team from the Riverhead Foundation has not been able to get to the scene and encountered several challenges in making plans for an on-scene necropsy, said foundation spokeswoman Rachel Bosworth.

The area is not easily accessible and the necropsy has to be done on scene at low tide, she said.

Also, a storm is expected to hit the area Wednesday, Bosworth said, and Islip Town would need to free up heavy equipment to pull the whale away from the surf.

According to the National Weather Service, a thunderstorm after 3 p.m. may bring hail and gusty winds.

The whale was initially observed floating off Moriches Inlet, Riverhead Foundation officials said.

Last week, a 32-foot, male humpback washed ashore in Westhampton and foundation officials concluded he likely died after being hit by a vessel when a necropsy on Friday found "extensive" bleeding and bruising all around his body.

Humpbacks are endangered. They migrate from northern waters in the summer to southern waters in the winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the lead federal agency in charge of protecting marine life and managing fisheries. They are favored by many whale watchers because of their aerial displays in "breaching" the water and flapping their tails or long, pectoral fins, NOAA said.

When born, the calves measure up to 15 feet and adults can grow up to 60 feet and live 50 years.

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