Authorities fear the whale may explode, with dangerous consequences for those nearby.

Authorities Fear Dead Whale On French Beach May Explode

French authorities have closed a beach at Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, amid fears that a decomposing whale carcass that washed up on the shore may explode, potentially injuring anyone nearby.

As The Daily Mail observes, the build-up of gasses within the 15-ton whale carcass has resulted in a dangerous situation, as the dead animal may explode. Road access to the area has been blocked, in an attempt to stop beachgoers from approaching or touching the whale. Authorities are now trying to determine the best way to quickly dispose of the dead whale, and have reportedly even considered blowing up the carcass with dynamite.

The whale washed up on the Mediterranean coast in early November, on the beach at Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, near Montpellier. The carcass has since become so bloated with gas that observers fear fatal consequences for bystanders, should any be nearby when the whale explodes, according to The Local.

According to Anaïs Cheiron, project manager of the national reserve of Camargue, the whale’s decomposition poses a unique danger to beachgoers.

“Because of the heat, gases form inside the cadaver – hence, the bulging appearance of the whale – and accumulate until they explode,” he said.

Cherion further noted that the whale could possibly be dragged out to sea and exploded with dynamite, though boats may not be able to get close enough to tow the animal, as nearby sand banks might block their way. Another option would be to cut the carcass into pieces, before removing and disposing of them. Authorities are examining proposals for removing the whale, attempting to determine which one is most practical and least risky.

Jean-Baptiste Sénégas, a local whale expert, observed that the animals can often be killed by collisions with ships. He took samples of the animal’s skin, fat and muscles for analysis, in order to compile further data on the health of local whales.

Last year, a scientist in the Faroe Islands was nearly injured while examining the carcass of a sperm whale. As the Inquisitr noted, the whale was one of two that died after becoming trapped in a narrow channel. Decomposition resulted in a build up of gasses inside the whale, which had been dead for over 48 hours. When the researcher cut into the enormous cadaver, the whale exploded, nearly injuring the startled man.

[Image: France 3 via the Daily Mail]