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Beached humpback whale dies in Brazil
Updated: 2004-08-11 11:20

A beached humpback whale that rescuers struggled for three days to save died Tuesday after a last attempt to pull him out to sea failed.

The whale, a young male measuring about 33 feet and weighing about 10 tons, washed up on Jurujuba beach just across Rio de Janeiro at the entrance to Guanabara Bay on Sunday morning.

Firemen try to save a beached humpback whale in Jurujuba beach, a suburb of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 10, 2004. The beached whale died after three days of failed rescue efforts. [AP]

Firemen try to save a beached humpback whale in Jurujuba beach, a suburb of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 9, 2004.  [AP]
Biologists said they believed the whale had become tired while swimming north into the tropical waters where the whales typically reproduce.

Around 100 rescue workers had been trying since Sunday to get the whale back into the ocean with a variety of boats, cables and nets. At one point, rescuers used two tugboats provided by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras in an attempt to pull it off the beach.

The seventh and final rescue attempt failed after a cable from a tugboat snapped while pulling at the whale.

Earlier Tuesday, biologists warned the whale's body temperature was rising, threatening to shut down its vital organs.

Bernadete Fragosa, a biologist at Rio de Janeiro's State University said the whale had likely died because the weight of his body put too much pressure on his internal organs.

Humpback whales live in the waters around the Antarctic and swim up the South American coast to breed in the warmer waters around Bahia state, some 700 miles north of Rio, she said.

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