A RARE whale washed up on a beach last night (Friday) in what has been described as a once-in-a-century event.

The 4.2m long Sowerby’s beaked whale is thought to have become stranded at Saltdean shortly before 8pm.

Newhaven Coastguard was called to the scene where they found the dead whale.

The Argus:

They said in a statement: "The team were tasked to investigate a stranded whale on the beach at Saltdean.

"When the team arrived the 4.2 metre long Sowerby' beaked whale was deceased.

"The whale was pulled approximately 120 metres to the promenade using salvage equipment supplied by Cutts Marine."

They said the whale carcass was being taken to the Natural History Museum for a post-mortem examination.

The Argus:

Dylan Walker, manager of the Brighton Dolphin Project said almost nothing is known about the species and to find one washed up was an “incredibly rare”.

He said: “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never known of something like this to happen.

“If you go back through the records, there might be one case finding this Whale on Sussex coastline in 100 years.

“It could even be the first time this has ever been recorded.”

The Argus:

The Sowerby’s beaked whale normally lives far away from land in very deep water.

Mr Walker added: “Somehow she must have got into the English Channel by accident and starved as they normally eat deep water squid.”

Saltdean resident, Colin Page, has been living in the town for 30 years and said he had never seen anything this big on the beach.

The 73-year-old, who took some of these pictures, said: “I was washing the car and a dog walker said 'there’s a whale on the seafront' so I went down to see it. I’ve seen a conger eel before but this thing must have been 10-feet-long - I’m six foot and it is a lot longer than me.”