A stranded young grey humpback whale was spotted by locals on White Rock beach in British Columbia. As news spread, hundreds of people gathered on the beach south of Vancouver to try to help the whale washed up on shore. Sadly, their efforts in pouring buckets of water could not help the humpback. After nearly two hours, the whale died.

Early at dawn that day, White Rock resident Mario Pavkovich was out walking with his mother when he spotted “a big black spot” in the distance. His mother suggested it was probably a sailboat that crashed. But when they came running towards it, they immediately realized it was whale and went up to a nearby hotel to phone the police.

The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) arrived at the scene shortly after and cut the fishing gear that was caught on the whale’s mouth and back fin. The humpback seemed to be alive and would breathe every five to 10 minutes, according to Pavkovich.

After word spread around town that a whale had been beached, hundreds of people, including school-age children and their parents, gathered on the beach with buckets and shovels to try to help keep the whale alive. But their efforts were in vain.

Staff veterinarians at the Vancouver Aquarium inspected the whale, which was younger than three years old. The humpback was in pretty bad shape, with scars all over its body. According to the vets, the fishing gear and rope that was wrapped around the whale looked as though it had been there for weeks or even months.

City officials are now working on a plan to dispose of the carcass.