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Whale Washes Ashore Near Socialite Mollie Wilmot’s Beach

August 25, 1986

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A half-ton whale has washed ashore near the same Palm Beach estate where a Venezuelan freighter smashed into the swimming pool in 1984.

The whale, more than 17 feet long and with a gaping neck wound, washed to shore early Saturday morning about 200 yards north of the estate owned by socialite Mollie Wilmot. The estate is near the Kennedy family compound.

The same whale had beached itself Friday night farther south on the island, but was pulled back to sea by Florida Marine Patrol officers. When the whale was found Saturday, it appeared to have been attacked by sharks, officials said.

Sea World biologist Robin B. Friday said the whale, possibly a beaked whale, probably died of old age rather than the wounds.

Ms. Wilmot, a department store heiress, gained international attention when the 191-foot freighter, Mercedes I, plowed into her swimming pool and was stuck behind her home for three months.

Walt Disney’s Touchstone Films is planning to make a movie, ″Palm Beached,″ about the incident. Actress Bette Midler has been signed to play the heiress.

Ms. Wilmot was out of town and could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Beaked whales have a beaklike snout and only two or four teeth in the lower jaw. Some types of beaked whales grow to about 15 feet, while others reach 40 feet.