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Oregon highway engineer behind 1970 decision to blow up beached whale dies at age 84
Reported by: Associated Press
Reported: Thursday, October 31, 2013 5:10 PM EDT
GRANTS PASS, Ore.
An Oregon highway engineer whose 1970 decision to use a half-ton of dynamite to blast away a beached dead whale became an Internet sensation has died. George Thomas Thornton was 84.
In November 1970, he got the call to remove a 45-foot-long sperm whale that washed up near Florence. He decided to use dynamite to disintegrate the animal. The blast rained down pieces of whale that covered spectators and flattened the roof of a car.
A Portland TV station filmed the explosion, and it was broadcast widely. The video of the whale explosion remains a popular feature on YouTube.
Perl Funeral Home in Medford confirmed Thornton died Oct. 27. His family declined to comment.