It Took Six Hours To Move This Massive Whale Washed Up On A Beach In Northern Ireland

Chris McCullough/Demotix

Incredible images show the crazy moment a humongous 43ft beached whale was hitched onto the back of a lorry and removed after being washed ashore.

And, forget needing a bigger boat, these workers needed a bigger digger – three to be exact – to lift the 20-tonne marine mammal onto the lorry, in an operation which took the team six hours between 4pm and 10pm yesterday.

The female sei whale was found on the beach in Portstewart, County Londonderry, the third to have washed onto the Irish shore in the last eight years. She is believed to have died of old age.

Chris McCullough/Demotix
Chris McCullough/Demotix

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Joe Breen, from the Department of the Environment, said:

We tried to get it on to a trailer with two diggers [but] we needed a bigger digger. We were able to get a 40ft rig from a company working on a road dualling scheme, but it took all three diggers to lift the whale.

Drone footage also shows the sheer titanic size of the washed-up creature. The red balloon shape is the whale’s tongue which had blown up.

Seagulls flocked over the whale as it washed ashore and the removal operation soon drew a crowd of interested people too.

Margaret McLaughlin
Mark Jamieson

There are around 12,000 ‘Balaenoptera borealis’ sei whales in the world. They can live for around 65 years but are an endangered species.