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Female orca dies on Florida beach

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Posted at 12:44 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 13:44:43-05

A 21-foot orca died after beaching itself in Palm Coast, Florida, which is about 30 miles north of Daytona Beach.

Crowds gathered at the beach on Wednesday as crews determined how to remove the killer whale.

The area was closed as the Flagler County Sheriff's Office worked with marine biologists from Sea World and officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to assess the situation.

The whale was placed onto a truck bed and removed around 4 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

NOAA said on Thursday that it's been determined that the whale was an older female. It added that there were no signs of human interaction or trauma. However, the agency noted that there were signs of "various illnesses."

A full necropsy will be done to determine how the whale died.

According to Sea World, killer whales are known to frequent the waters in the western north Atlantic. Their distribution reportedly extends from the Arctic ice edge to the West Indies.

SeaWorld notes that little is known about killer whales' presence in U.S. Atlantic waters. However, officials stated they have previously been spotted in fishing areas, but their presence is "unpredictable."