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OCEAN CITY, Wash. -- A dead whale was found beached Wednesday night along the Washington coast, just about three miles north of Ocean City.

Photos: Whale found beached on Wash. coast

The adult male fin whale was 68 feet long. Researchers think a ship may have hit the whale.

The marine biologists here have to work as quickly as possible to get all their research in because they're racing against the incoming tide, said Jessie Huggins of the Cascadia Research Center, who took samples from the whale to evaluate what its health was like before it died.

About five whales wash up on Washington beaches each year, but on average only one is a fin whale.

The state is looking into where and how to bury the whale.

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