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Media captionWhale beached in Cornwall

A whale found stranded on a beach in Cornwall has died despite rescue efforts.

It was spotted swimming near Nare Point in the morning and beached itself on rocks at Parbean Cove on the Lizard peninsula at about midday.

Volunteers had been dowsing it in water to help keep it alive and hoped to return it to the sea at high tide.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) sent experts to the scene and confirmed it had stopped breathing.

The animal was a fin whale, the second largest creature on earth, and was 63ft (19.25m) long.

Image copyright Steve Green
Image caption Volunteers had been dowsing it in water to help keep it alive

Dan Jarvis from BDMLR said they were called to the beach at about 13:30 GMT.

He said: “When we first got here the animal was opening its mouth wide and beating its tail against the rocks and it sounded like thunder.”

Mr Jarvis said the fin whale would not be able to support its own weight so it was “crushing itself”.

He said the whale was “in poor nutritional condition” – suggesting it was already in poor health before beaching.

Image caption The fin whale was confirmed as dead by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Steve Green, from Clean Ocean Sailing, said the whale had been swimming alongside their boat at Helston in the morning and was found stranded on the beach at about noon.

“I was really hoping we could get some help. Twenty people have turned up and I was hoping at high tide we could help her back out,” he said.

“She stopped thrashing around and stopped breathing, it’s really sad.”

BDMLR states on its website that whales do not beach themselves under normal circumstances.

It also warns that the chances of a whale surviving being stranded are slim.

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