A whale that beached itself on Hilton Head Island following an apparent shark attack was euthanized late Saturday, according to Shore Beach Services.
A lifeguard reported seeing what looked like a shark attacking a dolphin shortly before 3 p.m., north of Coligny Beach, operations manager Mike Wagner said. When the injured animal came ashore, the agency realized it was a Pygmy sperm whale, which are about the size of a dolphin, Wagner said.
Wagner contacted Jessica Conway of the S.C. Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
She later referred an Island Packet reporter to her supervisor, Wayne McFee, for additional information. Attempts to reach McFee were unsuccessful.
The whale was alive about 5 p.m., when a veterinarian was on the way to the beach. However, Wagner said the animal was later euthanized.
Additional information on the whale's injuries was not available Saturday afternoon.
Shore Beach Services cleared the water for half an hour after the incident, Wagner said. The shark was not seen again.
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.