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Burien could have had its own exploding whale

A whale that washed up in Burien is set to be towed out and dropped off at a more secluded beach where it can decay naturally, but Dori had a better solution: blow it up.

In the 1970s that was Oregon's solution, and a Portland TV station got the whole thing on camera.

"The hope was that the long-dead Pacific Gray Whale would be almost disintegrated by the blast, and that any small pieces still around after the explosion would be taken care of by seagulls and other scavengers," the reporter explains.

No one on the project, including George Thornton, the highway engineer in charge, had any problem with the chosen method of disposal.

"I'm confident that it will work," said Thornton. "The only thing is, we're not sure just exactly how much explosives it'll take to disintegrate this thing."

So they buried the explosives under the side of the whale and dozens gathered to watch as engineers triggered the blast.

But when the charges went off, camera crews were forced to stop filming and run for their lives as large chunks of whale blubber flew through the air.

Nearly everyone there was covered with pieces of whale, and the passenger side of a car over 400 yards away was smashed by flying whale parts.

"The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds," concludes the reporter.

Jillian Raftery, KIRO Radio Editor
Jillian Raftery is an afternoon editor at KIRO Radio. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.
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