SYDNEY: A dead humpback whale washed up in a Sydney ocean pool Wednesday, surprising morning swimmers and causing a major headache for authorities who must now remove it.
The 11.6 metre (38 foot) young adult humpback, which appeared to have been dead for several days, washed up at Newport beach's ocean baths overnight as rough seas lashed parts of Australia's east coast.
Ocean baths are open-air man-made structures on the edge of the beach filled with sea water.
"It does have some external injuries but there's no way of knowing whether they were antemortem or postmortem," said Wendy McFarlane from the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA).
McFarlane said one possible explanation for the otherwise seemingly healthy animal, estimated to be about 25 to 30 tonnes, to die at sea could be that it had been struck by a ship.
Whales generate huge public interest in Australia and hundreds of people flocked to the beach to see the whale floating in the pool.
Sydney's Daily Telegraph said some locals were moved to tears.
"It's so sad but it is a natural thing to happen in nature," Lua Silva told the paper.