BBC News - Whales found dead on Donegal beach Environmentalists are trying to establish how 35 whales beached and died off the coast of County Donegal. They were found on Rutland Island near Burtonport on Saturday. It's understood they were mostly mothers and calves. Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said it was one of the biggest mass deaths of whales in Irish history. He is concerned that Royal Navy sonar equipment could have played a role. "Thirty or 40 pilot whales were spotted off the Inner Hebrides last week," he said. "It looked like they were going to strand. It was bad weather. They were not seen again." Dr Berrow said the British Navy had been in the area off South Uist and had moved away. Campaigners were concerned that the latest sonar equipment could have affected this deep diving species of whales. No-one from the Royal Navy was available to comment on Sunday. In the past, the navy has denied that sonar noise from their warships could cause whales to beach. However, in America, the US Navy was ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar during training exercises from 2007 and 2009, after a judge found in favour of campaigners who argued the devices harmed marine mammals in the area. A team from Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology travelled to the scene off Donegal at the weekend to see if they could determine what had happened. Sixty whales died in the 1960s off the west coast of Kerry and 35 to 40 animals died in north Kerry in 2001. Maybe it was the music that was being played on the Ipods that drove them to suicidal beaching.