Stranded whale found dead in Turnagain Arm after beaching twice

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A young humpback whale that was stranded twice in Turnagain Arm was found dead Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It was first seen stranded on Sunday just south of Girdwood.

On Sunday, NOAA Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Coordinator Verena Gill says the whale became worn out after thrashing around on the mudflats for more than an hour. It eventually swam again when the afternoon tide came in. Then, on Monday, the same whale was spotted further into Turnagain Arm stranded again.

By Tuesday morning, it had disappeared and many hoped it had somehow made its way to safety.

Near milepost 84 on Tuesday morning, dozens of people lined the shore catching hooligan.

"Catching fish, hooligan with a net, it's a lot of fun," Chantha Vongphachanh said. He says he will slowly cook his fish to draw out the oil so he can make salad dressing. "A lot of work. I filled up like eight buckets already."

People chatted about the best ways to cook the oily fish and wondered what happened to the whale.

"I feel sorry for it," Keo Phimmasone said while dumping about 10 hooligan into a bright orange Home Depot bucket.

Many had seen the whale on Monday and had seen the valiant efforts NOAA officials had made to save the whale while it laid heavily along the shore.

"We saw it yesterday and I think this whale survived," John Sagato hoped from the shore.

By early Tuesday afternoon NOAA updated the news when the whale was found dead nearby.

A necropsy will be performed on the whale this week.

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