A 17-foot whale of a type rarely seen close to shore died Thursday morning after it beached itself on South Beach the night before.
The Couviers Beek whale, which appeared to be in its mid teens, beached itself Wednesday night on South Beach at First Street.
Members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries worked through the night to try to keep the whale afloat, but it died after sunrise Thursday.
Laura Engelby, marine specialist with the federal agency, said in addition to the beaching of a whale on the urban strip, there was another uncommon element.
''This type of whale is very unusual to the area and you almost never find them this close to the shores,'' she said. ``These are deep sea swimmers.''
A necropsy was being done late Thursday morning to determine why the 2,000-pound whale would come close to shore.