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A stranded whale off Venice beach dies. Officials are assessing the situation

This photo provided by City of Venice Florida shows a whale on Sunday off Service Club Park in Venice. Authorities were working to assist a beached sperm whale that is stranded on a sandbar Sunday morning.
AP
/
City of Venice Florida
This photo provided by City of Venice Florida shows a whale on Sunday off Service Club Park in Venice.

The 50-feet-long whale was beached on a sandbar about 50 yards out in Venice. Weather prevented a rescue and the whale died between 3 and 4 a.m. Monday.

Updated: March 11, 2024 at 10:04 AM EDT
This article was updated with news of the whale's death.

A sperm whale stranded on a sandbar off Venice Beach died early Monday morning.

The animal was stuck in the waves and sand Sunday morning. The Venice Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory were unsuccessful in rescuing the whale due to heavy winds and surf.

Jessica Powell, with NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, confirmed that the whale died overnight.

"Unfortunately, the animal passed, " she said. "Right now, the teams are mustering. The idea is to pull the animal onto the beach, which, you can imagine, takes a lot of logistics, a lot of heavy equipment. This is a very large animal, we're estimating around 60,000 pounds."

Powell said the whale would have a necropsy performed on it after it is brought to the beach.

"It helps us understand why the animal was sick," she said. "It will help us understand more about sperm whales ... help us do a better job of understanding these animals," Powell said.

The FWC on Sunday night said that water conditions were too dangerous to approach the whale by boat to attempt to give the animal a sedative. The whale was estimated to be approximately about 50 feet long.

Another assessment was made at low tide, shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday.

Biologists were hopeful for a successful rescue Monday as weather conditions became more favorable, but the whale died between 3 and 4 a.m.

Venice police posted on the agency's Facebook page that Service Club Park remained closed as multiple agencies continue to respond to the whale. The area of the stranding was about 50 feet off Service Club Park beach.

"Please stay away from the beach and marine areas for your safety and to allow responding agencies to accesses the site," the agency urged.

A 50-feet-long sperm whale was beached on a sandbar about 50 yards out from Service Club Park near Venice on Sunday.
Don Hubbard
/
Via Venice Police Department
A 50-feet-long sperm whale was beached on a sandbar about 50 yards out from Service Club Park near Venice on Sunday.

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Michael Braun
Andrea Melendez