Jan. 11: Humane officers fired round after round of soft-nosed and armor-piercing 30.06 bullets into the thick hide of a grey whale that was trapped under pier 50C at Mission Rock Terminal yesterday. But they failed, even after a score of direct hits, to penetrate the skull of the whale to put it out of its misery. It died slowly. The 25-foot beast swam up a narrow channel between the concrete pilings along the Embarcadero late Monday night. Once under the pier the whale couldn't get out. He thrashed around the pilings, ramming his snout into the concrete and into the side of the liner the President Hayes. Yesterday morning the President Hayes pulled away, but the whale was still trapped in the cross ties and pilings. James Brown, superintendent for the SPCA, saw the whale bruised and bleeding and decided it would have to be destroyed. Humane officer Raymond Minton, hanging precariously over the water, fired the first shot at the whale at 10 a.m. "I wanted to hit the eye, "Minton said "That would have killed him instantly. But I couldn't get a good shot." When the whale was first hit, it slammed against the pilings, rocking a 40-foot Coast Guard boat as if it was a dinghy. Minton fired again and again at a range of about 10 feet, but still the whale kept thrashing. A dock worker, Sam Cava of 719 Capp Street, went home for some armor-piercing cartridges. Three of these were fired into the whale. It retreated to the darkest corner under the pier and lay still. "It must be dead," Minton said at 3 p.m., some 16 hours after it was first discovered.
Can you imagine such an event now?!
My favorite line: "A dock worker, Sam Cava of 719 Capp Street, went home for some armor-piercing cartridges."