Sharks are suspected in the attack on a dead whale that washed ashore in Del Mar, according to the state department of Fish & Game.
The dead whale was found on the beach in Del Mar on Friday at about 8 a.m. near the foot of 29th Street. Jim Lischer of the city's lifeguard department said lifeguard were able to free the carcass from the sand after about two hours. They then tied a rope to it and used three boats to tow it about 1 mile out to see. Some estimates put the whale at about 20 feet.
Lischer said lifeguards were lucky they were able to get it off the beach. He said he was unsure what type of whale it was.
Gray whales are in local waters as part of their annual migration back north, including a juvenile whale some dubbed Diego that spent several weeks in San Diego Bay. That whale, which was estimated between 25 and 30 feet, was last seen about a week ago.
Officials said there were shark bites in the whale carcass. Fish & Game will take sample from the whale and hopefully be able to determine why the marine mammal died.
Last month, there were at least two dead whale sightings along the California coast. A 25-foot gray whale calf washed up on an Orange County beach, and a two-ton gray whale drifted to shore in Santa Cruz.