Source AP ©

Whale swims off Brooklyn shore

Marine biologists were to investigate a report of a whale swimming off the Brooklyn shore of New York harbor, but it was not known whether the animal was in distress.

Police said a police harbor craft was "standing by" and "in the area," but was not taking any action. "It's there in case we're needed," said Officer Martin Speechley, a department spokesman.

Whales are a rare sight inside New York harbor and it was not immediately known when a previous sighting last occurred.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, based in Riverhead, New York, said its rescue program director, Kim Durham, was en route to the scene. The Riverhead Foundation specializes in cases involving whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles.

The whale was reported to be swimming near the shore off Pier 22 in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park, not far from the year-old Brooklyn Cruise Terminal that opened last year.

The creature was described by CBS News as a 12-foot (3.7-meter) baleen whale, a variety noted for being able to leap completely out of the water. The Channel 2 network said its helicopter, hovering overhead, had videotaped the whale "jumping in and out of the water several times."