Heartbroken Boaters Helplessly Watch Whale's Life-and-Death Struggle - NBC New York

Heartbroken Boaters Helplessly Watch Whale's Life-and-Death Struggle

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    Heartbroken Boaters Watch Whale's Life-and-Death Struggle

    Dozens of spectators have lined the shore on Long Island's Moriches Bay to watch a humpback whale's days-long life-and-death struggle. Greg Cergol reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016)

    Dozens of spectators have lined the shore on Long Island's Moriches Bay to watch a 25-foot-long humpback whale's days-long life-and-death struggle. 

    Officials say it got stuck in Moriches Bay over the weekend. It had been in the area for more than a week before that. 

    "It kills me. I don't understand why you can't save the animal," Sue Abramski said. "It's open knowledge he's dying. Do something." 

    Abramski's plea wasn't unique. Boaters bent on a rescue tried to get to the 20-ton whale Tuesday, but were turned away by the Coast Guard and Suffolk police.

    The Riverhead Foundation of Marine Research and Preservation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tried several efforts to dislodge the whale but couldn't.

    "Even if you get four boats, ten boats, it's 20 tons," said Chuck Bowman, a marine life expert also watching at the shore. "It's not gonna happen, and you're stressing the animal." 

    Still, one Facebook video shows some local boaters trying to move the whale Monday night. They were unsuccessful.

    "It's a whale in distress," said Vinny Conwell, who was among those who tried to save the whale. "She's crying, it's ugly."

    Conwell said local authorities don't have the assets needed for an emergency like this. 

    Marine experts have been hoping a rising tide can free a whale, but for now all most can do is wait, watch and pray.

    It could be days before the whale frees itself or a decision is made to euthanize it.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed state conservation officials to coordinate with the NOAA to help save the whale.

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