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Shingle Street: Whale dies on beach

PUBLISHED: 15:44 30 September 2012 | UPDATED: 22:40 30 September 2012

A minke whale became beached on a sand bar and died at Shingle Street on Sunday.

A minke whale became beached on a sand bar and died at Shingle Street on Sunday.

Archant

A WHALE rarely seen from the region’s coastline has died after beaching in Suffolk.

The 20ft minke whale struggled for about half an hour to free itself from the shore at Shingle Street but died shortly after the arrival of an inshore lifeboat crew from Aldeburgh.

Onlookers watched helplessly as the whale struggled in the shallows.

Angler Charles Wood, of Ipswich, was fishing on the beach when he saw the drama unfold shortly after 3pm yesterday.

He said: “I was facing Orford Ness about a quarter-mile from the shingle spit and saw something thrashing around at the top of the beach.

“At first I thought it was a killer whale trying to get hold of a seal – but as the tide went down it uncovered what looked more like a minke.

“It must have become confused by the shallow water. I’ve seen plenty of porpoises and seals off the shore but never anything like this. It’s quite sad.”

Jimmy Robinson, deputy launching authority at Aldeburgh lifeboat, said the whale was still moving when he and his crew arrived.

A Harwich Coastguard spokeswoman said: “The Natural History Museum will come and carry out an autopsy to find out what the whale died from – it’s all in their hands now. We are just hoping it doesn’t float off at high water.”

Minke whales are found in the northern North Sea but rarely reach local waters and are seldom seen close to shore.

A smaller minke was put down after it was stranded on a beach in Northumberland last week.

Simone Bullion, of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, has written on the subject of minke whales and their appearance on the East Anglian coast.

According to records, the last sighting was in 2007 off Kessingland. Before that, a minke was temporarily stranded in the River Stour in 1986. The last instance of a minke carcass being found was in 1982 at Easton Broad.

A man has been charged in connection with an attempted post office robbery in north Essex.

The Orwell Bridge will close at 10am this morning, Highways England has announced.

Co-op customers can expect to pay less for their shopping basket as the retail giant fights “tight” competition.

One lane of the A12 was closed to traffic this morning, causing lengthy delays, due to a collision and oil spillage near Colchester.

These pictures from The Lattice Barn pub in Woodbridge Road will evoke fond memories for many from 1974.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

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