OAK ISLAND, North Carolina (AP) — A necropsy is planned for a sperm whale that beached itself in Oak Island, North Carolina. A marine mammal rescue team tried to help it back out to sea, but ultimately had to euthanize the dying animal.

News outlets report that the distressed whale drew crowds all day Thursday. It's skin had been cut and it lost significant amounts of blood, turning the tide red around its massive body.

Betsy Herron, who lives on Oak Island, swam out to the whale at one point. She said "It may seem crazy, but I wanted it to know that it wasn't alone and there's hope."

But research biologist Bill McLellan at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington said it was emaciated and had probably been in distress for weeks.