It’s a whale of a tale.
On the 50th anniversary of the “Florence Whale Explosion” Thursday, a former Oregon TV newsman recalled what it was like to cover the infamous event — where authorities used half a ton of dynamite to blow up a beached whale.
“I was asked about it virtually every day of my life, or commented on it, by everybody, strangers alike,” Paul Linnman told KATU-TV in Portland.
On Nov. 12, 1970, Linnman and his cameraman Doug Brazil were just 23 when they were assigned to capture the blubber blast on a beach in Florence, Ore.
The Oregon Highway Division had decided the best way to remove the dead 8-ton sperm whale that had washed up ashore was to stuff it with 24 cases of dynamite and blow it up.
The idea was that the rotting whale would be nearly disintegrated by the blast, and that any smaller pieces left over would be taken care of by seagulls or other scavengers.
But it didn’t go as planned.