Getty Photographer Matt Cardy on a stranded fin whale that died off the St Austell coast

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Getty photographer Matt Cardy photographed a fin whale that was stranded on a beach off the St Austell coast in England on August 13.

He says it was the first time for him photographing a distressed whale and a first time for most of the rescuers to have dealt with such a large mammal at 20 meters (65 ft). Fin whales are the second largest animal on the planet and an endangered species.

According to Cardy, he was listening to the 7 p.m. BBC headlines in his car when the broadcast reported news of the whale. A quick check of his satellite navigation, revealed that he was less than an hour away, so he headed to the beach – a random chance that he was so close that evening.

Below, he describes the surreal scene.

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