'A lot of blood on the ice': Whale trapped in ice near Old Perlican for third day

New search and rescue stations to boost emergency response in N.L.

A woman in Old Perlican says it's an awfully sad scene in the harbour this weekend, with a humpback whale trapped in thick ice and no way to get free. 

"The ice is after loosening up around him so he's moving around a little more," Mary Lou Riggs said Sunday. "But there's a lot of blood on the ice." 

Riggs said she heard the whale was stuck in Cook's Cove, in Old Perlican on the Avalon Peninsula, on Friday. 

"Not very good, when you're down there and you're looking at him and you can see the blood on the ice where he's, I guess he's moving trying to get out. And you can hear him crying. Very, very sad," she said. 

"Just sounds like a baby crying, really."

'We can't euthanize the animal'

The Whale Release and Strandings group said its crew was in Cook's Cove on Saturday assessing the situation.

An email sent Saturday said the whale is trapped in heavy Arctic pack ice in shallow water, so "there is nothing that can be done to assist unless the wind changes and frees the ice in the cove."

"An icebreaker wouldn't be able to navigate in there and we can't euthanize the animal."

The group asked the public to respect the animal "in the situation it has found itself," and to leave it alone. 

Hoping the wind will change

"Standing on the shore you're only about 10, maybe 15 metres away from it," said Riggs, adding that there are a lot of people down in the harbour as well. 

"I guess the poor whale is stressed, right? Because you can see him like trying to move with all the people around."

"Nobody can do anything," she said. 

Riggs said there's no indication the ice will move off, and fishermen she spoke with said the wind is supposed to stay for the next couple of days, "so it's not looking good."

"We've had ice here before but nothing like the thickness of this ice," she said, adding the whale will be there until the ice moves off.

In the meantime, Riggs said she'll keep checking.

"And hopefully the wind might change and he might get free."