The giant humpback whale that washed on shore the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend in Los Angeles could have been a giant disaster for one of the city’s most popular beaches. 

But crews were able to devise a plan and execute it flawlessly that had the body of the 45-ton behemoth back out to sea before the sight and the stench marred an otherwise gorgeous holiday weekend. 

RELATED: Crews Remove Whale Carcass From SoCal Beach

The whale came ashore on Dockweiler Beach on Thursday at about 8 pm, LA County lifeguards told NBC LA. The popular beach saw thousands of visitors over the weekend after the whale had been cleared from the beach.

On Friday, the sight of the 30-40 foot long creature did attract considerable attention as lifeguards first tried unsuccessfully to tow the whale back to sea. Instead the decided to wait for the help of the tide. 

Building on experience from past whale carcass disposals, life guards used a bulldozer to push sand against the roughly 45-ton body of the whale to build a berm. In that way, it did not move any further onto shore while the tide came back in.

With lines tide to boats in the water, crews on shore coordinated their efforts to push while the others pulled until it was finally dragged far enough into the water that it would not come back. 

Because no story about a dead whale disposal would be complete without mentioning the infamous exploding whale in Oregon that took place in 1970, here is video from a news clip at the time that has any in charge of such an operation vowing, “never again.”

Photo credit: News.cn via Youtube