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Iceland pilot whales: Dozens of dead mammals found beached

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image copyrightDavid Schwarzhans
image captionDavid Schwarzhans, the pilot of the sightseeing helicopter, took images of the whales

Dozens of dead beached whales have been spotted by sightseers during a helicopter flight over western Iceland.

The dead pilot whales were photographed during the trip on Thursday over a beach at Longufjorur.

It's unclear how the mammals became beached. The region where they were spotted is secluded, inaccessible by car and has very few visitors.

Police in the nearby town of Stykkisholmur have been made aware of the discovery, local media say.

The images were taken by helicopter pilot David Schwarzhans.

He told the BBC: "We were flying northbound over the beach and then we saw them. We were circling over it not sure if it was whales, seals or dolphins. We landed and counted about 60 but there must have been more because there were fins sticking out of the sand.

"It was tragic and when we stood downwind it was smelly. It wasn't something nice to see and quite shocking since there were so many".

She added that pilot whales usually swim in tight groups, which is why so many of them become stranded at once.

image copyrightDavid Schwarzhans
image captionIt is unclear how the animals became beached

Half of the whales had died by the time they were discovered, while the remaining were put down as it would have been too difficult to save them.

Related Topics

  • Iceland
  • Whales

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