Humpback whale dies off Scotland's north-east coast


Humpback: Whale died after becoming tangled in rope.

A humpback whale has died after becoming tangled in rope off Scotland's north-east coast.

A rescue was launched after a fisherman spotted the whale near the village of Helmsdale on Thursday.

A British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team was scrambled, but choppy seas and stormy weather hampered the search.

The whale is believed to have drowned on Saturday and its body was recovered by the BDMLR on Sunday.

A BDMLR spokeswoman said: "The body was retrieved yesterday and it was confirmed dead on Saturday.

"It was brought back and pathologists from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) will perform a post-mortem.

"It was entangled in rope which could have made the whale weak and unable to feed and drown."

Last week, the BDMLR rescued 14 pilot whales which became stranded on a Skye beach.

Of the 21 whales which beached on Tuesday, four died and three more were euthanised by vets.

Six whales which returned to the area shortly after the stranding are now believed to have left.

A SMASS spokesman added: "The individuals that were re-floated have not been observed since and as time passes the likelihood that they have survived the physiological damage and stresses associated with becoming stranded increases."