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15 April 2013, 18:12
A whale stranded at a coastal beauty spot in Cornwall has been put down.
The 3m (10ft) pilot whale was discovered in an apparently fit and healthy condition, at Castle Beach near Gyllyngvase in Falmouth.
Volunteers with the coastguard and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team immediately began to cover the whale in water in an effort to keep it saturated and refloat it on this evening's high tide. They put a 100m cordon around the beached mammal for public safety reasons, as dozens of people gathered on the esplanade to take pictures of the stricken beast.
However, their excitement shifted to anxiety when the rescue crew called in veterinary experts, who assessed the whale from behind a makeshift shield of windbreakers. The decision was eventually made that the whale was too ill to be released back into the wild, and it was euthanised.
A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said:
"We had reports of the beached whale around 12.16pm. Sadly, just after 3pm today, the decision was made to put it down.''
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had left the operation to remove the 4.1 tonne carcass in the hands of the local authority.
A Cornwall Council spokesman said it was working with Cornwall Wildlife Trust to ensure the scene was left safe following the whale's removal from the beach - a popular walking spot. The spokesman said:
"Unfortunately the condition of the whale deteriorated during the afternoon and it was put down by a local vet on the advice of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. The council is currently arranging for its removal from the beach and appropriate disposal.''