Bloated whale carcass could explode in Canadian town, locals fear
Residents have been advised to stay away from the 25m-long creature
The locals of a small Canadian town are becoming increasingly worried that the rotting carcass of a beached whale may soon explode and release dangerous bacteria into the air.
The 25m-long blue whale is emitting a powerful stench that is spreading through the 600-strong town of Trout River, Newfoundland, according to local clerk Emily Butler.
She and others are now worried that the build-up of methane gas inside the enormous creature may cause it to burst.
“We have a concern...because I'm not sure with the heat and gases that are trapped inside of this mammal if at some point in time it will explode,” she said.
However, Jack Lawson, a research scientist for Canada’s fisheries department, said that while the risk of the whale exploding is “very small,” people should not approach the whale because of the dangerous bacteria it is likely to be harbouring.
He said: “At some point, the skin of the animal will lose some of its integrity as all of the connective tissue starts to break down.
”Eventually, that gas will seep out. It will just deflate like an old balloon.“
“The risk will come from somebody with a sharp blade who decides they want to cut a hole in the side to see what happens, or if someone is foolish enough to walk on it,” he said.
He added that he is aware of YouTube videos showing a bloated, beached sperm whale in the Faroe Islands, within the Kingdom of Denmark, that suddenly explodes as a scientist uses a large knife to cut open its underside.
“With this animal [in Newfoundland], it's highly unlikely that it's going to happen, especially spontaneously,” he said.
The scientist said large, beached whales can either be buried with heavy equipment or cut up and shipped to a landfill.
Ms Butler asked for help from the province's environment and government services departments as well as the federal fisheries department to remove the carcass.
She said the town council considered asking fishermen to tow the mammal out to sea but concluded such a task would need to be supervised by someone with expertise.
“Nobody has been properly trained in the removal of whale carcasses of this size,” she said.
The whale is one of three beached along Newfoundland's west coast.
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Scotland independence vote: Everything you ever wanted to know about life after the result
Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Dorset named best place to retire in England and Wales
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...