NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A whale stranded offshore from Orchard Beach in the Bronx has died.

The whale was spotted by passersby Sunday afternoon, according to a witness.

“We were right along the edge of the water, and at first we thought we were watching a dolphin, but then we realized it was just too big to be a dolphin, and then we realized that it was a whale,” said Lucy Dalton.

Dalton said a crowd of people gathered to watch the whale swimming near the shore, and realized something was not right.

“It was swimming around in circles right at the shoreline, and we thought, well maybe it was eating, but then eventually it swam right at the edge of the water; basically beached itself,” she told 1010 WINS.

PHOTOS: Whale Stranded Off Orchard Beach

The NYPD Harbor and Emergency Services units were called to the scene to help rescue the whale.

Dalton said even though it was sad to see the beached whale, it was encouraging to see people come together in the moment.

“It was nice to see that people weren’t trying to like take selfies and you know, trying to glamorize it,” she said. “They were trying to help, and people felt bad and they were calling 911 and anyone; the Coast Guard, you know, to try to help this poor animal.”

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Another witness, Sergio Oquendo, posted video to the scene via Instagram.

“The whale was beached and they just happened to – ESU was on the scene, and they dragged it into the water to try to keep it in the water,” Oquendo told 1010 WINS.

Oquendo said police were waiting for marine biologists to arrive Sunday afternoon.

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