A beached whale was blown up with dynamite and the man who did it has died, as well.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, another beached whale has caused headlines in Florida after being euthanized.
George Thomas Thornton blew up a beached whale with half a ton of dynamite in 1970, gathering national attention. To this day, the video of the event, showing pieces of whale carcass flying across the beach, is still popular on YouTube. Bits of beached whale even flattened the roof of a car nearby. If that’s not action, I don’t know what is.
The good news is that the beached whale was blown after being dead on the beach. Mr. Thorton was called to remove the 45 foot long sperm whale, as it had begun to stink. George T. Thornton was an engineer with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), a position he held for 37 years. In 1970, the state’s Highway Division had jurisdiction of the beaches, forwarding the call to Mr. Thornton.
After taking action, Thornton did not appear to want to talk about the beached whale being blown up, remarking that when he did “it blew up in my face.” Literally.
Ed Shoaps, the public information officer for ODOT reported that Mr. Thorton felt he couldn’t just haul the beached whale out to sea because it would just wash back up on the beach, and they couldn’t burn it. After consulting with the Navy and other explosives experts, Thornton was advised to blow it up. They set up the dynamite closer to land in the hopes they could blow the whale out into the water.
George Thornton wore a hard hat while blowing up the beached whale and explained to surrounding people that the plan was to blow the whale into pieces small enough for seagulls and crabs to take care of. 75 spectators were on the beach. Onlookers were at first impressed with the explosion… that is, until pieces of blown up whale started raining from the sky.
Witness Paul Linnman recalls the scene when the beached whale was being blown up:
“The humor of the entire situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere.”
Writer Dave Berry wrote about the beached whale blown up to 20 years later, when it was then posted on a bulletin board in the early days of the internet. Ed Shoaps sums it up nicely:
“I consider it the first story to go viral on the Internet. The story persists because it is interesting.”
I guess that’s true since we’re hearing about it once more today.
George Thomas Thornton died at the age of 84. For more on the beached whale blown up visit theexplodingwhale.com.
So what do you think about the beached whale being blown up with dynamite?