During a trip over a beach at Longufjorur earlier this month, helicopter pilot David Schwarzhans found what looked to be dead mammals and he photographed his encounter with the tragedy.

(David Schwarzhans)

“We were flying northbound over the beach and then we saw them. We were circling over it not sure if it was whales, seals or dolphins. We landed and counted about 60, but there must have been more because there were fins sticking out of the sand,” Schwarzhans told BBC in an interview.

It is still unclear how the poor animals became beached. The place where they were found is a very secluded place and is inaccessible by car.

“It was tragic and when we stood downwind it was smelly. It wasn’t something nice to see and quite shocking since there were so many,” he added.

(David Schwarzhans)

Marine biologist and whale expert Edda Elisabet Magnusdottir told Icelend Monitor that pilot whales, which were the animals mostly found dead on the beach, often have the tendency to become disoriented. And because they are very social animals, they swim in groups, thus also the reason why many of them got stranded at once.

Related stories:
– Recent study finds two new sub-species of pilot whale
– Mass whale stranding in Georgia worries wildlife authorities
– Scientists sound alarm after 6 rare whale deaths in a month