Scientists Optimistic Stranded Whales in Florida Will Survive

No clues yet why the pod initially swam into the 3-ft warm waters of the Everglades National Park

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A National Park Services volunteer looks over a dead pilot whale as it lies on the beach in the Florida Everglades in this December 4, 2013 handout photo obtained December 5.

After the death in Florida of 11 whales during an puzzling mass stranding incident, scientists are hopeful that the remaining animals will escape the remote Everglades region after they headed toward deeper waters on Thursday.

“Today we are hopefully more optimistic after a Coast Guard helicopter spotted 35 of the… surviving whales swimming in three separate pods near Plover Key in 18 feet of water this morning,” said Mary Plumb, the Everglades National Park spokeswoman, during an interview with the AFP.

The news refutes an earlier assessment made by a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that any attempt to rescue the whales would likely fail.

Scientists have yet to uncover why the pod initially swam into the 3-ft warm waters off the southern Florida coast.