One manatee dead after male and female caught in net on south side of Boynton Beach Inlet

OCEAN RIDGE, Fla. -- One manatee is dead and another is stranded on the south side of the Boynton Beach Inlet near Ocean Inlet Park in Ocean Ridge.

Authorities with the Florida Wildlife Commission say the two manatees were found by a lifeguard this morning tangled in an abandoned net.

"Whether it got caught on the rocks, or whatever else, somebody had let [the net] go," said FWC spokesperson Amanda Phillips. "During the tides, going in and out, it had loosened itself and entangled itself in and around the manatee."

The lifeguard cut the manatees free, but the female has died.

"We went out there to try to cut the line off the manatee to see if we could help it," said Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue Lt. Brian McManus.

The male manatee has remained at her side because he is trying to mate with her, officials say.

FWC officials think the female manatee may have drowned, but will perform a necropsy to confirm the cause of death.

Authorities say this incident is a sad but important reminder about net safety.

"Just because you let a net go and you don't think anything of it, something bad could happen," said McManus.

Ashleigh Walters, WPTV contributed to this report.

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