Whale dies stranded on Pegwell Bay beach in Kent

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Media captionIt is not known why the whale died

A whale has died after becoming stranded on a beach in Kent.

Coastguards were alerted to the beached whale at Pegwell Bay, between Ramsgate and Sandwich, at about 0730 GMT.

Animal rescue experts were called and were waiting for low tide before examining the 45ft (13.7m) whale, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

Coastguards said later that the animal had died. A spokesman said it had attracted great interest but the public were being advised to stay away.

"Our advice is to stay away as much as possible. It could be dangerous due to bacteria and it will probably get quite smelly," he said.

"As the tide was on the flood, the advice was to leave it to see what happened when the water flooded around it.

"It now appears to be completely expired."

Kent Police said emergency services and Thanet District Council had been called to deal with the incident.

Insp Simon Collins said there had been a suggestion it was a sperm whale but this was yet to be confirmed.

Emergency teams are also liaising with the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Zoology.

Recovery of the whale was due to be carried out when crews could gain access.

A spokeswoman for the council said it was moving heavy lifting equipment to the beach in preparation to move the whale.

Environmental expert Dr Alasdair Bruce said: "This may well be a rogue stray in which case it's possibly a bull sperm whale.

"It may have become disorientated through the noise of propellers and then found its way up here, and either died naturally or possibly been hit by a ship."

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