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Dead whale, wedged in ice, spotted off Newfoundland's coast

Monday, April 15th 2019, 12:39 pm - Residents say this much ice is unusual, but it's unclear if it contributed to the whale's demise

It's not uncommon to see whales near Fischells beach in Bay St. George, but the latest sighting has been unusual.

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The whale has been dead for weeks, according to people who live in the area. Its body is trapped in ice; half in, half out of the water.

"We never had ice like this in a good few years," said Brian King of Jeffries, a ten-minute drive from Fischells beach. King used a drone to capture close-up images of the whale, which he said was about three and a half kilometres from the shore.

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 12.28.56 PM Image: Brian King said he heard about the whale a few weeks ago, but waited for a calm, clear day to capture video. (Courtesy of Brian King via CBC)

King said he first heard about the whale a few weeks ago, and so he believes it's been dead for some time. He said he waited for a calm, clear day to take video.

Such a sighting is rare, he said, but he did recall a similar situation when he was growing up.

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 12.27.32 PM Image: Brian King used a drone to get up-close to a whale in ice off the cost of western Newfoundland. (Courtesy of Brian King via CBC)

"That's a long time ago, when I was a young boy. So I was pretty interested."

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 12.30.40 PM Image: Brian King said it is not uncommon to see whales in the Bay St. George area; what's uncommon is the tightly-packed ice (Courtesy of Brian King via CBC)

A spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the drone footage has been shared with the department. Jack Lawson, a whale researcher with the department, is working with an expert in Quebec to identify the species.

Lawson is also working on a plan to obtain samples of the whale for research, according to the department.

A number of dead whales, including humpbacks, blue whales and right whales have washed up on Newfoundland's shores in recent years.

This article, written by Bailey White, was originally published for CBC News. Contains files from Jeremy Eaton.

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