Whale Dies in Creek Despite Rescue Efforts
A young gray whale that repeatedly got stuck in shallow San Francisco Bay waterways died Monday night despite rescue efforts.
Volunteers were trying to herd the animal toward the bay earlier in the evening when it failed to surface from a shallow creek, said Denize Springer, a spokeswoman for the Marine Mammal Center.
“It was in deep enough water for it to swim then it dove and it didn’t come up again,” Springer said.
Scientists will not know for several weeks why the whale died, pending the results of a necropsy. They have not decided whether to remove the mammal from the creek or perform the tests there.
The 26-foot gray whale, about a year old, had wandered through the South San Francisco Bay channels since Saturday.
It appeared headed back to the bay Saturday night, but turned around and headed upstream, getting stuck in the mud of San Tomas Aquino Creek near the Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club.
The whale briefly broke free when the tide came in Sunday afternoon, but turned around less than a mile later and got stuck once more.
High tide and rescuers freed it for a second time Monday morning. But again the success was short-lived. By midmorning, the whale was stuck in shallow water.
Officials had hoped they could guide the whale back to the bay through three miles of winding channels, Springer said.
The wayward whale was one of at least four sighted this month in the San Francisco Bay area. Marine mammal workers planned to compare photographs to determine if any of the sightings are related.