Officials on Friday cleared away a dead humpback whale that washed ashore on a Los Angeles County beach ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
The whale washed ashore at Dockweiler Beach Thursday about 8 p.m., LA County lifeguards said. Authorities first tried towing the creature out to sea Thursday, but it drifted ashore instead.
Crews towed the 45-ton carcass out to sea on Friday night.
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Lifeguards said keeping holiday beachgoers away from the decomposing whale was a primary concern before crowds swarm in during the holiday weekend.
Officials asked the public to stay away from the carcass earlier Friday, as curious onlookers gathered to snap photos of the animal, estimated between 30 to 40 feet long.
"The smell was pretty awful, like manure, disgusting," said Jakob Karlsson, of Northridge.
Emerson Waumans said it was pretty crazy.
"These animals are incredible to see one, never seen one washed up on shore," he said.
Officials took tissue samples of the massive animal to determine the cause of death.
Crews used bulldozers to move the carcass and tow it back into the ocean.
The discovery came days after a blue whale was discovered entangled in fishing net in the ocean further south than the discovery on Thursday night.
Rescuers tried in vain Monday to free the 60-foot blue whale the tangle of fishing line, but could not and had to call off the rescue effort.
The dead whale is not the same whale.