Lifeguards Watch for 55-Foot Humpback Whale Carcass Off Shore of Newport Beach

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Newport Beach lifeguards had their eyes trained on the horizon Friday, trying to make sure a 55-foot dead humpback whale — nicknamed Scarlet by local boaters — that was seen Thursday didn’t make its way to the beach.

A dead whale onshore can create a very smelly problem, lifeguards said.

“If it hits the beach, it’s going to stay here until it can be chopped up and towed off,” Marine Safety Capt. Skeeter Leeper said. “It’s a mess, and it stinks.”

Lifeguards saw the massive carcass heading toward shore near the Newport Pier about 3 p.m. Thursday. At first it looked like a large boat, but on closer inspection, they realized it was a humpback whale, Leeper said.

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