© Tania Rogers/WPTV
A large dead whale was spotted Jan. 10, 2014 near the Boca Raton shore just south of Spanish River Boulevard.
Officials are investigating the death of a young sperm whale after discovering the dead animal on a South Florida Beach, Friday morning.

According to officials, the 30-foot female whale was found ashore, just south of Lifeguard Post 18, at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton at around 9 a.m.

The whale was found following reports of a shark feeding frenzy about a mile off shore. However, officials said, the whale was beached within an hour-and-a-half, due to strong wind currents. They also said the animal was partially decomposed, leading officials to believe it may have been dead for a while. "Sharks were already kind of around it, but because of the strong winds coming from the southeast here that hour-and-a-half it came from about a mile and washed up here in the shore," said Boca Raton Police spokesperson Mark Economou.

Once the whale was ashore, experts noticed it had been decomposing and might have been dead for up to five days. "We're all going to work together to find out why this animal died and use that information to help them as much as we can in the future," said NOAA standing coordinator Elizabeth Stratton.

The part of the beach where this occurred had been closed prior to the discovery of the whale due to dangerous rip currents. However, that did not keep people from coming to observe the beached whale. "It's terrible, it really is," said resident Dennis Forgione. "It's a shame to see this happen, but I still had to see it. I had to come down and see what was going on. I live nearby here, and I heard about it."

Another resident, Kristy Breslaw, said, "That's crazy I've lived here for 12 years. I've never seen anything like that."

One young spectator was not pleased to see the dead animal ashore. "I thought it was disgusting," said 6-year-old Dylan Codacovi as he stood next to his friend. "Me and him thought a shark bit him. I don't know if it was a great white, a hammerhead, a thresher, a blue shark or a tiger," he said.

"My friend posted it on Facebook, of course," said swimmer Kristy Breslaw. "We are athletes, so we swim a lot, and she was warning us, the club, to stay out of the water."

Biologists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration will examine the whale to determine a cause of death.

Sperm whales have been recorded to grow up to 70-feet in length.

Officials warn the public if they do go out to see the whale, not to touch the animal because it is illegal.

While this is not an unusual experience in South Florida, if you spot a marine mammal in trouble you can notify NOAA via your smart phone. For more information visit: