About 20 whales that had been stranded in a remote portion of Everglades National Park went missing overnight Friday, an indication they had swum back to sea, environmentalist said. But a Coast Guard patrol spotted the whales several miles north of the original place where 11 of the pod beached themselves and died.
They were about a mile closer to shore and swimming in 10-to-12 feet of water, the Miami Herald reported Saturday.
Normally, pilot whales swim in very deep water, up to 1,000 feet.
"It is concerning because they are not moving in an outward direction offshore [toward deeper water], which obviously is what we were hoping for," said Blair Mase, the Southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator for NOAA Fisheries.
Experts said the pod was no longer swimming and diving as a healthy group would but was moving slowly and in a disorganized fashion, suggesting illness, fatigue, malnutrition and dehydration are setting in.
The reports Friday came a day after officials expressed cautious optimism when the whales swam away from shore into about 18 feet of water. They had the opportunity to continue swimming back out to sea but did not.
Necropsies have been performed on the whales that have died with no obvious cause for the mass beaching.
Duggar sisters unveil Christian dating rules in new book
Beautician charged with giving client fatal silicone butt injection