The crew of sailing school vessel Tole Mour and Catalina Island Marine Institute instructors hold an 18-foot-long oarfish found in the waters of Toyon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, Calif.(Photo: Catalina Island Marine Institute)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - It took more than 15 people to help haul the catch of a lifetime out of the Pacific - the silvery carcass of an 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish.
Marine science instructor Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute was snorkeling off the Southern California coast when she spotted the giant sea creature with eyes the size of half dollars on Sunday.
Staffers at the institute are calling it the discovery of a lifetime.
Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, according to CIMI.
The obscure fish apparently died of natural causes. Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.