Beached Whales Die off Nantucket

Wednesday, July 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Ten pilot whales stuck in shallow water off Nantucket were euthanized after experts and volunteers spent hours vainly trying to steer the animals back out to sea.

The whales, ranging from an 8-foot calf to an 18-foot adult, washed up 100 feet from shore just after 7 a.m. Tuesday and were stranded at low tide. Onlookers and experts from the New England Aquarium in Boston draped soaked sheets over the mammals as protection from the sun.

The tide came back in three hours later and volunteers tried to turn the group out to sea. But the dominant male in the whale pod kept leading them back to shallow water.

``He had a mind of his own,'' said Greg Mooers of Santa Monica, Calif., who found the beached whales, which can weigh up to three tons.

The decision to euthanize the whales was made at 10 p.m.