FLORENCE, Ore - A 40 to 50 foot whale got stuck in shallow waters along the Oregon Coast Friday. Experts fear it could beach itself by Saturday morning.
Experts think they're dealing with an endangered Sei whale. Sei whales stay in deep, offshore waters.
Witnesses say the whale was bleeding, seemed confused, and fear it may not be strong enough to make it back to deeper waters.
It happened about one mile north of the Driftwood Shores area in Florence. Coastguards noticed the whale about around 1 p.m. and originally thought it might be stuck in crab pot buoy lining.
Jim Rice, who was called to the scene, says the 40 foot whale was stuck on a sandbar about 30 yards from shore. Rice thinks it was sick.
"We saw a fair amount of blood showing up when the waves were crashing over the animal's body," says Rice. "Blood was coming up with the animal's body. It may have got hit by a ship, it may have an illness, it may just be confused for some reason."
The Coast Guard tell us the whale was able to free itself from the sandbar about 5:15 tonight. Since then, they tell us the whale has been able to stay upright.
By 7 p.m. when our KVAL crew left Florence, the whale still had not made it out to deeper waters. It was still stuck in the surf area; however, the whale had been moving parallel to the beach Northward.