A beached sperm whale was put to sleep after it was spotted in Madeira Beach near John's Pass Thursday morning, according to reports.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the 30-foot whale was euthanized Thursday afternoon. Commission spokesman Kevin Baxter says the whale was found Thursday morning in poor health and emaciated on Madeira Beach.
The Florida Wildlife Commission was investigating just how the whale became stranded about 20 yards from shore, reported NBC affiliate WFLA.
Officials told WFLA the whales never go so close the shore unless they are in duress. In this case, wildlife officials determined the most humane thing to do was to end the whale's suffering.
Erin Fougeres with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association told WFLA this whale was emaciated -- its ribs and skull were visible as it lay in the water. She said NOAA is waiting for a strong enough sedative to arrive from the University of Florida in Gainesville to euthanize the whale.
Hundreds of beachgoers gathered around the whale, taking pictures as wildlife officials and animal experts tried to save the whale.
A necropsy is planned for Friday.
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