The mammal was discovered Wednesday, apparently very sick, and bleeding from its mouth and tail. The animal is now being assessed and aided by responders and Breezy Point locals, but the incoming tide is hampeing their efforts, according to the AFP.
Mendy Garron, a regional specialist for the federal NOAA Fisheries service, said that the whale is "really emaciated, not a good body condition at all."
Garron added that the finback was "not moving a lot," and is unlikely able to make it back to sea; however, experts are hoping that the high tide could float the whale back to into the water, where it could have a better chance of surviving, according to the New York Daily News.
Kim Durham, of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, suggested that the whale may have been injured by a passing ship and was unable to recover, before washing ashore early Wednesday morning.
“New York Harbor is like a four-lane highway, so it could have been struck,” Durham said told the Daily News.
It was Breezy Point locals that found the whale. Louis Bassolino said he was searching for a boat lost during Hurricane Sandy, and thought the whale was a capsized craft, until he came closer and noticed the huge tale slashing in the water.
Bassolino called the local NYPD and FDNY, and he and his family threw buckets of water on the finback for an hour until responders arrived.
“We didn’t know what to do,” Bassolino's daughter, Deidre, told the Daily News.
“I was shocked. I never saw anything that big wash up before. We just wanted to help. We went out there and lo and behold — there’s a whale.”
“There was just so much devastation this year,” Bassolino's wife, Diane, said. “We just wanted to see something survive.”
Finbacks are the second largest species of whale and can be as long as 70 feet, and weight as much as 70 tons. They are capable of reaching speeds of 35 mph and can cruise at about 14 mph; the finback is also known for having the deepest voice of any animal on earth.
Durham said she planned to stay on the scene until the situation is resolved. In the event of the whale's death, a necropsy is planned.
According to the Daily News, it remains unclear whether the whale is male or female.