Humpback whale lost in the River Thames

A marine rescue team is on standby after a humpback whale has been spotted in the Thames.

The mammal – about 20 ft long – was spotted near the Dartford Crossing in East London.

It has been swimming up and down the Thames for a couple of days.

Observers are keen to follow the whale – nicknamed “Hessy” – to ensure its safety.

Already boats and ships have been told to slow down.

The last time a humpback whale took to the river in 2009 it died of starvation.

Experts says “Hessy” is in good health.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a specialist charity dedicated to freeing stranded and endangered marine animals, is tracking the whale.

Julia Cable said: “We watched it move down the river, the intervals between it surfacing are perfectly normal — it was about five or six minutes which is fine, it’s what they do.

“It seems to be moving along quite happily.

“It’s very likely that it just made a navigational error.”

Richard Sabin, principal mammal curator at the Natural History Museum, said the whale could survive on herring and krill.

He said: “I don’t think we need to be concerned at the moment.

“There are no signs of injury – it’s swimming and diving.”


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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