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Body of stranded whale attracts crowds to East Anglian coast

15:46 24 January 2016

The dead young adult male sperm whale beached at Hunstanton. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The dead young adult male sperm whale beached at Hunstanton. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Hundreds of people have visited a remote Norfolk beach this weekend to see the body of a stranded sperm whale.

Crowds flock to see the dead sperm whale. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireCrowds flock to see the dead sperm whale. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Rescuers battled in vain to save the 30ft long creature, which became beached on rocks at Hunstanton on Friday night.

Yesterday three more whales were found dead on the beach at Skegness, Lincs.

Marine animal experts are investigating whether the deaths of the four whales could be linked to other strandings.

The creatures are believed to have been part of the same pod.

The beach where the male whale was washed ashore at Hunstanton is not easy to reach – and some people risked being trapped by the tide around the headland where the whale was found, which becomes almost cut off at high water.

Earlier, a lifeboat crew tried to coax the creature to deeper water, with staff from Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, but their efforts were in vain as the whale died and the tide carried its carcass onto a shipwreck at the foot of the cliffs below the lighthouse.

The terrain is also likely to hamper attempts to remove the whale, as the spot is almost inaccessible to vehicles.

Investigators are examining samples taken from the Norfolk whale and those at Skegness, which are among more than 15 whales to die in the southern North Sea in recent weeks.

Five whales died after they washed ashore on Texel Island, in the Netherlands, two weeks ago. Six more have stranded in Germany.

Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south through the North Sea looking for food but became disorientated in shallow waters.

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