A whale is blown up through dynamite on the beach close to Florence, Ore., ~ above Nov. 12, 1970. Doug Brazil via KATU

Folks in Oregon stuffed dynamite in a dead sperm whale and also blew it up 50 years ago. That went around as well together you can expect: the whale carcass exploded choose a firework and bits of burned blubber rained under on dislike onlookers who’d gathered ~ above the beach to watch.

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The mascot because that Exploding Whale Memorial Park is displayed in Florence, Ore., in June 2020. City of Florence/Facebook

The infamous sperm whale was already dead when it washed up on the beach close to Florence ~ above Nov. 9, 1970. The rotting corpse ended up being a major problem because that the locals, who could reportedly odor it native a great distance. It measured about 13.7 metres (45 feet) long and weighed in at more than 7,200 kilograms (eight U.S. Tons), making that a difficult challenge for the regional department of transportation to address.


State highway public representative ultimately determined to dispose the the whale by blowing the up through a half-ton that dynamite.


Locals gathered ~ above the beach on Nov. 12 to clock the spectacle, i beg your pardon was captured in a now-infamous report by KATU reporter Paul Linnman.

He explained in his report the officials didn’t want to cut up, burn or ask the whale, so they worked out on the explosive approach for … reasons?


“The hope was the long-dead Pacific grey whale would be practically disintegrated by the blast, and that many small pieces still approximately after the explosion would certainly be taken treatment of by seagulls and other scavengers,” Linnman said in the report.

“I’m confident that it’ll work,” George Thornton, the technician behind the effort, told Linnman in ~ the time. “The only thing is, we’re not certain just precisely how much explosives it’ll take to disintegrate this thing.”

They make the efforts 20 cases of dynamite, and also it didn’t work.


Footage captured by Linnman and also his cameraman, Doug Brazil, shows the whale exploding in spectacular fashion. Pattering sounds have the right to be heard a few seconds later, and also chunks of blubber deserve to be watched falling native the sky.

“The blast blasted blubber past all believable bounds,” Linnman stated in the report. “Huge chunks of whale blubber dropped everywhere,” he said. The report also shows a automobile that was partially crushed by a item of the fallout’s whale carcass.


Highway crews ultimately hidden the remains.

“It can be concluded that must a whale ever before wash ashore in lane county again, those in charge will not just remember what to carry out — they’ll absolutely remember what not to do,” Linnman said.


Most cities bury dead whales when they wash up, in part because the what happened in Florence.

The city chin has additionally learned native its mistakes. Another dead whale washed increase on that is shores critical April, and also officials walk the simple thing and buried the — lot to the chagrin of part locals passionate for a repeat performance.


“Oregon park rangers determined to bury a perfect dead whale rather of blowing the up,” check out the tongue-in-cheek headline in the Williamette Week, a long-running different newspaper in Oregon. “Do we really desire to live in a state that won’t to explode giant pet carcasses when provided the chance?”

The practice of blowing increase dead whales may be over, but the memory will live on v Linnman’s notorious report and — now — with the memorial park.

Lest us forget.



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