Marine biologist Bjarni Mikkelse said he knew a beached whale on the Faroe Islands would have some trapped gas, but he was still surprised when the dead animal exploded when he cut into it Tuesday.
"The animal was more than two days old when we took it so we knew there would be some pressure on the inside, but nothing like what happened," Mikkelse, who works at the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, told the Daily Mail after a video of the whale exploding made its way online.
He was cutting along the dorsal part in the hopes of keeping the sperm whale's skeleton intact for preservation.
"It wasn't a shock. We had expected something. In the situation I was more worried about something worse happening or anyone getting hurt," Mikkelse said.
The Faroe Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean north of the U.K.
Editor's note: The below video contains graphic footage which may be disturbing to some viewers.