UPDATE: Dead whale was struck by propeller of large vessel
SEATTLE– The 32-foot gray whale found under the Washington state ferry terminal was killed by the propeller of a large vessel, according to results of a necropsy released by NOAA on Saturday.
Investigators estimate the female whale was between two and three years old and in good health before her death.
Large, deep gashes were found on her right side and back leading investigators to believe she died shortly after being struck, probably on Tuesday, just two days before being found under the Coleman Ferry dock.
In the next few days, the whale’s remains will be towed away from the shore and allowed to decompose naturally in the water.
Gray whales were removed from the endangered species list in 1994. It is estimated approximately 20,000 gray whales live along the West Coast.