When a 30-ton sperm whale started bobbing in and out of the water about 100 yards offshore in Pompano Beach, people nearby knew something was terribly wrong.
"Looks really hurt," said Jessica Steele.
Witnesses called police, who immediately reached out to scientists for help.
Both police and a rescue team took a boat and then a paddle board to get close to the injured animal. That’s when scientists noticed the whale's deep scars.
"It's possible it was hit by a boat; it's possible there was an internal illness," said Doctor Stefan Harzen of Taras Oceanographic Foundation.
They also realized the whale was barely breathing.
"There's really very little you can do for a whale if it gets seriously ill or injured," said Dr. Harzen.
Eventually, Mother Nature took over, and the whale died.
Because of the low tide, the ocean gradually took the young, female sperm whale further, and further from the shore. Crews lets it drift until it was gone.