SAN DIEGO, March 26 (UPI) -- Military officials in California say they spotted three dolphins in an area where explosive tests were being conducted, but it was too late to save them.
Scientists said they aren't sure what killed the three dolphins, but they showed injuries consistent with blast trauma, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The animals died this month during a Navy training exercise off the San Diego coast. The unit conducting the exercises said no marine mammals were in the area when it started its countdown.
"They saw the dolphins before the explosives went off, but it came so late it would have put humans at risk to stop the process," said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet. "After the detonation, despite all required protective actions taken to avoid marine mammal impacts, three dolphins were found dead in the area."
The incident occurred at the Silver Strand Training Complex near Coronado. Government biologists recovered the Long-Beaked Common Dolphins and took them to a veterinary lab at Sea World for necropsies.