ATLANTIC BEACH - Crowds flocked yesterday morning to Atlantic Beach to catch a glimpse of a 30-ton whale that washed ashore.

Marine biologists say the 40-foot Finn whale was already dead and had been decaying for a while.

Kim Durham and her team from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research say they're going to do a forensic investigation and find out what caused the young adult whale to die.

"It's badly decomposed, and there's significant damage to the tail," Durham says.

According to Durham, it is the same whale whose carcass was seen in the ocean near Long Branch, N.J., June 5.

Marine experts say today they will cut up the whale's carcass and perform an autopsy on it. The whale will then be removed from the beach and incinerated.For Chopper 12 footage of the beached whale, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.