SAN DIEGO — A community came together Thursday during a rescue attempt to help a beached whale in North County.

Sadly, SeaWorld San Diego reported the adult pygmy whale died on the way to their rescue facility.

“When we realized not a respiration rate for quite some time, and the heart rate was getting slower and slower,” said Jeni Smith, the SeaWorld San Diego rescue team supervisor. “We gave it life saving-measures but unfortunately the animal didn’t make it.”

The rescue team showed gratitude for the dozens of people who helped along the way.

Around 4 p.m., the rescue crew got a call for a beached whale at Carlsbad State Beach. When the team arrived, they were met with a community ready to go.

“Hands flew up, they said they would help,” Smith said.

Dozens helped carry the roughly 900-pound whale on a stretcher, one mile up the beach to the SeaWorld rescue team truck.

“There was a lot of communication. OK, does anyone need a break? Who needs to switch out? People would jump back in, help out. And I can’t say enough, it was amazing group effort,” Smith described.

The rescue team, along with a veterinarian, continued to try to save the animal on the way to the rescue facility. The team had to detour to the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla when the whale died in the truck.

“Looking at the animal, there were no obvious signs of injury, it did look skinny and we measure its respiration rates, we measure it’s heart rate, it had a very low respiration rate. It did not move a lot, it was pretty lethargic and at this point we don’t know what was wrong with it, it could’ve had an illness, there was nothing visual on the outside,” Smith said.

At the science center, they will perform a necropsy, an animal autopsy to learn more about the animal. Smith said whales will try to mask it when something’s wrong with them. However, Smith said when this happens, eventually natural instinct makes them leave the water.

“If they all aren’t feeling well, then they probably aren’t swimming well, and the tide brings them out,” Smith said. “Maybe they have a disease or an injury, probably weak all of those things.”

SeaWorld recommends if you do see a whale close to the shore, do not push it back into the water, leave it at the shoreline.

If the animal does come out of the water, keep it an upright position so it can breathe. You can also call SeaWorld’s rescue line, 24/7, 365 days. The number is 1-800-541-SEAL.