#MarineWildlife - Could the recent mass strandings of Cuvier's beaked whales in British and Irish waters be connected with the recent real-life 'Hunt for Red October'?
Last month scientists in Scotland were baffled by an "unusually large number" of strandings of the deep-water whale species, rarely seen because they feed so far below the surface.
And as the Sunday World reports, even more have been found washed up on beaches around Ireland since then, amid an alarmingly high rate of cetacean strandings for the start of this year that includes the killer whale beached in Waterford last week.
While the recent severe weather systems from the Atlantic have been suggested as a possible cause, another culprit might be the British navy's search for a rogue Russian submarine at the end of last year.
Mick O’Connell of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says that loud sonar such as that used to detect submarines can distress deep-diving whales into surfacing too fast and getting 'the bends'.
It's believed that all eight of the beaked whales washed up in Ireland died in the same incident.
Though their actual cause of death cannot be determined, decompression sickness has been suggested as reason for the earlier Scottish whale deaths.
The Sunday World has more on the story HERE.