- Courtesy KATU
- "THAR SHE BLOWS!!"
In one of the most hilariously weird examples of Oregon history, on November 12, 1970, officials decided to use a half-ton of dynamite to dispose of a dead whale (which apparently really stank) that had washed ashore on the Oregon coast in Florence. Turns out that a half-ton was overdoing it a bit, to say the least.
From the November 13 edition of Eugene's Register Guard:
The beach erupted in a 100-foot high column of sand and whale. Chunks of the animal flew in every direction and spectators began to scream and run for cover when they glimpsed the large pieces soaring directly overhead.
No one was hit, but a piece about three feet long caved in the top of a late-model car in a South Jetty Road parking lot.
...Down on the beach, Thornton inspected the blast area — strewn with pieces of whale and sprinkled with blubber powder. Where the whale had been, there was a large hole. The only recognizable part of the whale was its tail, a few feet from the blast area. The smell had improved, but not much.
Yeah, but what abut that dude's car? From the Nov 17th edition of the Eugene Register.
Walter Umenhaufer’s car was the one hit by a piece of whale blown up by the State Highway Division on a beach south of Florence last week. Though the blast was a quarter-mile away, a three-foot chunk was blown over the heads of spectators and smashed the top of Umenhaufer’s late-model car.
...“I don’t want that car,” he said. “It still stinks of the whale. I went down to the shop the other day to get something out of the glove box, and the car was covered with a tarp because it smelled so bad.”
Want to see the blast in action? Hit the 2:40 mark in this 2012 anniversary story from KATU.
HAPPY EXPLODING WHALE DAY, EVERYBODY! Want more Exploding Whale info? Check out the hilarious and informative TheExplodingWhale.com!