Massive whale carcass rots on California beach
A 40-foot whale carcass is rotting at a popular surfing hotspot in California.
The mammal's tongue is so swollen that is is bulging out of its mouth like a giant black balloon.
Authorities are debating how best to remove the giant carcass. Options include towing it out to sea or cutting the whale into pieces and driving it away in trucks.
The carcass has landed on a popular stretch of the Lower Trestles beach, south of San Clemente, with limited access to vehicles.
Burial on the beach is not feasible because the stretch is mostly cobblestones, according to Rich Haydon, superintendent at San Onofre State Beach.
Heraclio Belmontes of Newport Beach went to see the whale with his two brothers.
He said: "It's at least twice my height. I was a chef for a while, so I've seen all sorts of dead fish. But never like this."
Monica Perez brought her three children to see the unusual sight.
She said: "It's very scientific. It's not every day that you have a whale that washes up onto your beach, and there's a lot that we can learn from these majestic creatures.
"We did miss the end of school, but I figure that this is school in action."
The whale is likely to have died of natural causes and was discovered on the beach on Sunday. A decision on what to do with the carcass is expected in the next two days.
A second whale about the same size was spotted over the weekend floating off shore. Its carcass is breaking apart in the water.