50th anniversary of viral beach whale explosion


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — On Nov. 12, 1970, a dead whale washed ashore in Portland, Oregon. The Oregon State Highway Division used dynamite to remove the 8-ton whale from the beach.

Former KATU reporter, Paul Linnman recounts the now viral explosion.

“It wasn’t an easy way of disposing of it, and as most of the world knows now, the choice was dynamite,” Linnman said.

Linnman said other ways to dispose of a whale carcass include burying it, dragging it away, or pulling it out to sea, but the whale was too large to use those options in 1970.

“They decided to consult with the Navy and decided to blow it up into tiny little pieces that could easily be disposed of and taken care of by seagulls,” Linnman said.

Linnman said once the dynamite ignited large parts of the whale flew across the beach and into the parking lot. He said it’s the closest to combat he’s ever been.

Linnman says the Navy used a half-ton dynamite to dispose of the whale, but it still wasn’t enough.

“It was scary,” he added. No one was injured or killed, but Linnman said a car was flattened by the mammal debris.

You can watch the full interview in the embedded player.

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