Officials: 20 whales spotted closer to shore

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Associated Press

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 4:36 PM

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials say 20 whales believed to be part of a pod found stranded in the Everglades this week were spotted Friday afternoon moving closer toward shore, a sign they may be reversing their earlier, positive course.

The whales were about five nautical miles from the coast, one mile closer than Thursday.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stranding coordinator Blair Mase says the animals appeared to be less organized and swimming slowly.

The development raises concerns the whales could be sick or becoming exhausted from the stranding.

Officials had been hopeful the whales were headed back to their deeper, colder waters after they were spotted moving offshore Thursday.

The pod originally included 51 whales. Eleven have died. Several others remain unaccounted for.

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