Coast Guard Assists With Whale Carcass Off Hilo, Hawaii

HONOLULU — Crewmembers with the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska in Hilo, Hawaii, today assisted with an emergency disposal operation of a bloated whale carcass near Hilo.

At the request of NOAA and DLNR, the Coast Guard was requested to use small arms to deflate the lungs so the carcass could sink. Before shooting, the Coast Guard cleared the area to ensure boaters’ safety.

At 1 p.m., the Kiska’s small deployable boat, KIS 1, was on scene with Kiska crewmembers, two NOAA researchers and a DLNR representative. As many as 10 large sharks were attracted to the area approximately two miles off shore.

Kiska crewmembers fired 30 rounds from a M-16 rifle into the carcass in an attempt to sink the carcass. The Coast Guard cleared the area of six small boats before strategically firing rounds from the small semi-automatic rifle at bloated parts of the carcass.

The whale carcass is still floating in the same area, but winds have shifted to the Northwest and it appears the carcass is now drifting out to sea. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the situation with NOAA and the DLNR.

HONOLULU -- A decaying whale carcass floats about two miles off of the entrance to the breakwater at Hilo. The Coast Guard responded to a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to transport biologists to the site to take tissue samples. Once on scene the team decided that an emergency disposal of the carcass should be attempted; the efforts failed. The Coast Guard and NOAA will continue to monitor the whale carcass to determine if additional actions are necessary. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A decaying whale carcass floats about two miles off of the entrance to the breakwater at Hilo.
U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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