Huge sperm whale removed from British beach

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A 13-metre (44-feet) sperm whale that washed up on a British beach was Wednesday removed after a five-hour operation to cut up the carcass.

The whale, believed to weigh more than 20 tonnes, washed ashore on a beach in the northeastern English town of Redcar on Tuesday and died later despite the locals' attempts to keep it alive.

An autopsy was carried out on the giant creature before it was cut up using hydraulic equipment usually used in road construction.

The carcass was taken away in huge containers and sand from the affected area removed.

A spokesman for Redcar and Cleveland Council, which was responsible for the mammal's disposal, praised the efforts of those involved in the operation.

"As well as the sensitivities surrounding the disposal of the carcass, we have had to consider the potential health hazards and risk to shipping... ," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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