Norfolk

Whale spotted in shallow water off Norfolk coast

pic of coastguard Image copyright PA
Image caption The coastguard is advising people to keep at a safe distance away from the whale

A whale has been spotted in shallow water off the Norfolk coast, less than a week after the death of another whale in the same waters.

It was reported to be "alive and thrashing about" near Mundesley, about 50 miles away from Hunstanton, where a whale died on Thursday.

However, the coastguard ended its search after there were no further sightings following the initial report.

It said the whale had hopefully returned to deeper waters.

Live: Updates on whale search here

The whale was spotted 300-400 yards off shore by a member of the Happisburgh and Mundesley Coastguard Rescue Team, which contacted the UK Coastguard just after 10:00 GMT.

Keith Griffin, station officer for the team, said: "We've carried out an extensive search and are confident that if the whale was in that search area, we'd have found it.

"Low tide has now passed so with a bit of luck it will return to deeper waters and stand a chance of survival."

The next low tide, when the whale could become stranded, is expected at 02:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Image copyright Andy Butler
Image caption Six whales have died after washing up on beaches in Lincolnshire and Norfolk this year, including this one at Skegness

Members of the public were earlier advised to keep at a safe distance from the whale, so as not to cause it any distress.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it was investigating the latest sighting and was told the whale was "still free-swimming."

Sperm whale strandings

300,000

sperm whales in the world

  • 30 sperm whales washed ashore across Europe in 2016

  • 6 sperm whales beached in Norfolk and Lincolnshire in 2016

A sperm whale that died last week was the sixth one to die off the British coast this year and the 30th to die in the North Sea in 2016.

The whales that have died this year in British waters all washed up on the east coast of England in Skegness and Hunstanton.

The last whale to wash up in Hunstanton died despite the efforts of experts to rescue it.

Specialist contractors have now been brought in to remove the carcass to a disposal facility.

The other whales were found beached in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Marine experts said it was probably due to a pod, which normally lives off the west cost of Norway, straying into shallow waters while hunting squid.

In a separate incident, a dead minke whale washed up on a beach in Essex last month after being hit by a ship.

Image copyright Geograph/Pauline E
Image caption The whale has been seen in the sea near Mundesley in Norfolk, which is about 50 miles from the whale that died last week in Hunstanton

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