In 1970, a dead 8-ton, 45-foot long whale washed up on the Oregon coast. It had been so long since this had happened that no one knew what to do.
Enter George Thornton of the Oregon Department of Transportation. Mr. Thornton, who passed away Sunday at age 84, decided that it would be a fine idea for the whale to be reduced to smaller parts so that it could be eaten by scavengers.
It was, in theory, a good idea. In practice, there were several issues, primarily: “we’re not sure just exactly how much explosives it will take to disintegrate this thing”.
It turns out that 20 cases, about a half-ton, was both too much and not enough.
People a quarter-mile away were covered with bits of exploded decomposing whale. As the whale detonates, you can hear the first chunks of whale raining down on the fleeing camera crew. A large chunk demolished a car a half-mile away. The town was covered in whale parts, some of it flaming. And yet, part of the whale remained on the beach.
Witness the single greatest news broadcast in history.
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