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Stranded humpback whale dies near West Seattle

A humpback whale died at the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock in West Seattle Sunday, but officials aren't sure why.
The 39-foot juvenile female was stranded when the tide went out. Marine mammal experts said she was clearly in distress.

David Hutchinson, a volunteer with the Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, was called in to help.

"When we first got here and it was alive, we were all rooting for it, and we were basically told it didn't have all that much chance of surviving," he said. "So, it was basically doing sort of what we do with seal pups, except it was with a whale."

That means they kept people away, answered questions from onlookers, and supported the experts.

After the whale died, a necropsy was conducted. Research biologists at the scene told the West Seattle Blog that the whale appeared much thinner than she should have been.

Officials expect to tow the whale out to sea Monday to someplace where they can sink it.

Humpback whales are increasing their numbers in Puget Sound lately. But whale officials say it's rare to find a dying humpback here.   

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