Whale's body lifted from Ipswich river

AN unusual recovery operation was carried out in Ipswich today when the Orwell whale was removed from the water at Cliff Quay.A specialist removal team was brought in this afternoon to oversee the removal of the six-metre northern bottlenose from the water.

AN unusual recovery operation was carried out in Ipswich today when the Orwell whale was removed from the water at Cliff Quay.

A specialist removal team was brought in this afternoon to oversee the removal of the six-metre northern bottlenose from the water.

It was initially towed along the river Orwell toward Ipswich until it was brought to a section of Ipswich dock equipped with cranes.

A sling was then fitted around the seven-tonne whale and it was lifted onto the dock.

It was then placed on to a truck and taken away for incineration.

The removal operation brought to an end the sad story of the whale's stranding in Ipswich.

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The whale, dubbed George by rescuers, died early on Saturday after being injected with powerful sedatives by specialist vets.

It had been stranded in the shallows beneath the Orwell bridge at about 1.30am on Saturday and left beached when the tide went out.

The six-metre whale, which lost its way from its normal waters in the North Atlantic Ocean, was first spotted in the Orwell near the bridge at about 2pm on Friday. By early evening it had entered shallow waters on the Orwell Country Park side of the river and hopes of saving it were almost completely dashed when it could not be herded out to deeper water.

Marine mammal medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group kept a close watch on it overnight after a decision was made to put it to sleep soon after first light on Saturday.

A steady stream of people braved the muddy banks of the Orwell later on Saturday to get a closer look at the whale, this time nearer Nacton Shores where its body had floated on the tide during the day on Saturday.

The coastguard kept watch to ensure no one got stuck in the mud as Ipswich Borough Council staff worked out how to remove it from the water. The body was later towed to Cliff Quay and tied up until recovery could be organised.

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