Richard Branson plans submarine tours of dead whale corpse
Snaps up bloated blubbery body, tows it offshore
San Diego's dead beached whale was towed offshore last night, with the help of billionaire Richard Branson.
Branson's Virgin Oceanic fund agreed to fork over the readies for the project in exchange for the corpse of the whale, which it plans to study.
Rather than taking the body off to a landfill, as originally planned, the Oceanic team instead sunk the whale to the bottom of the ocean in order to study its decomposition, NBC San Diego reported.
The researchers are going to dig into the corpse to find out exactly how it died and take samples of blubber, blood, organs, tissue and barnacles for further study.
Then cameras will watch the whale's final resting place to see the wildlife that come to feed on its remains and watch the decomposition itself.
"Also in the works are exclusive submarine rides with the carcass an attraction 2,500 feet below the surface," NBC said.
The local Baywatch crew was waiting for Wednesday evening's high tide to help shift the enormous body.
It took about six hours to tow the bloated corpse out to sea, according to the International Business Times.
The fin whale, previously thought to be 50 feet long, actually turned out to be 67 feet long, and was pregnant as well.
Scientists from the Southwestern Fisheries Science Centre who were trying to determine the cause of death said the whale was most likely struck with a ship.
“There was fracturing on about four metres of the whale’s vertebral column,” biologist Siri Hakala told IBT. ®