Second Sea Serpent Washes up in California
If good things come in pairs, the discovery of another giant, nearly
mystical sea creature should portend positive things for a bunch of
bewildered beachgoers who early Friday evening happened across the
second so-called "discovery of a lifetime" in less than a week.
Oceanside Harbor, Calif., is the second of the rarely seen creatures to
be found in a matter of days.
"It's so rare to find in Southern California, especially in surface
water," Suzanne Kohin, of the National Marine Fisheries Service said.
"They thought it was a very rare event the first time, so these two
events that we heard of in the last few weeks are the only ones I've
ever heard of."
The first discovery was made by a snorkeling marine scientist who
wrestled the dead 18-foot monster (with help) to shore near Catalina
"I was thinking I have no idea what that is and like it looks like a
snake but it kind of looks like a giant eel," said onlooker Alexandria
Boyle, who was one of a class of third-graders on a beach trip when the
newest oarfish was found.
Boyle was among a crowd of about 75 who crowded around the creature as
police were called, and waited around for the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration to come and collect the carcass.
Oarfish can grow up to 50 feet in length and live in depths of up to
3,000 feet. Little is known about their habits and life cycles, but the
NOAA writes on their website they "probably only come to the surface when injured or dying."
When the first oarfish was found last week, the Catalina Island Marine
Institute hailed it in a news release as a "discovery of a lifetime."
Mark Waddington, a school training guide with the Insitute told ABC News
he spotted another instructor, Jasmine Santana, trying to bring the
fish to shore, and immediately jumped in to help, along with 15 to 20
"I had heard of it in studies, but never thought I would see one in
person," said Waddington, who was "beside himself" when he saw the size
of the fish.
Divers inspecting a navy buoy in the Bahamas were the first known to
videotape a five-foot long oarfish in 2001, claims the NOAA.
The terrifying-looking and toothless oarfish is also known as a ribbon
fish, possessing bony, silvery bodies and bright red-crested heads. They
are thought to have spawned ancient folk tales about sea serpents.
ABC News' Lauren Effron contributed to this report.
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