Police officer recounts effort to rescue beached pygmy sperm whale

HOBE SOUND, Fla. - An officer with the Jupiter Island Police is sharing his story about how he and other officers tried to rescue a beached pygmy sperm whale Wednesday morning.

Despite their efforts, the mammal died during the rescue process.

"We could see the animal was in a great amount of distress," said Andy Sabikas.

He says the department received a call from the Martin County Aviation Unit who noticed the struggling whale as they were flying down the coastline.

"You feel somewhat helpless because you see this large creature gasping for air and trying to return to the water," said Sabikas.

The whale tumbled in the surf for hours. Sabakis says with the help of two other officers, he pushed the whale into deeper waters until a marine life boat showed up.

But some say that decision was a mistake.

John Cassady with Florida Fish and Wildlife said the whale should have never been moved from the beach.

"This was a situation where had that animal been left alone on the beach, we would have gotten to that animal hours ago," said Cassady.

He says the officers are not to be blamed for the whale's death because the outcome may not have been any different had FWC arrived earlier.

Sabikas says this isn't his first time dealing with beached marine life. Like everyone, he was hoping for a better outcome.

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