A 70-foot sperm whale beached on a sandbar off the coast of Florida was still alive early Sunday as wildlife authorities raced to help the ocean mammal, officials said.

The whale was beached about 50 yards from shore near Service Club Park in Venice, the city said in a statement posted on social media. 

At the time of the 11:30 a.m. statement, the city said the whale was still alive.

Police closed the entrance to the park as Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assessed the whale’s condition. Marine units with the Venice Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office were assisting.

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Despite officials asking the public to avoid the area, hundreds of spectators lined the shores of the beach, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

No further details about the whale or its condition were immediately available.

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Venice is located about 75 miles south of Tampa.

Last week, two dead whales washed ashore in Virginia Beach, Virginia, while another dead whale beached in Maryland last month. No definitive causes of death for these whales were immediately released.