WATCH: Giant 18ft. 'Sea Serpent' Pulled Ashore in California
Marine science instructor, Jasmine Santana, got the surprise of a lifetime while snorkeling off the coast of Southern California on Sunday.
Santana spotted the carcass of what turned out to be an 18-foot-long oarfish, while on a snorkeling trip in Toyon Bay, Santa Catalina Island.
She dragged it by the tail for over 75 feet, before 16 colleagues from the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) waded into the water to help bring the creature to shore.
Oarfish typically dive more than 3,000 feet deep, making sightings rare.
Tissue samples were sent to biologists at the University of California in Santa Barbara for further study, though the fish appears to have died of natural causes.
The carcass will be buried in the sand. Once decomposition is complete, the skeleton will be reconstructed for display.
The oarfish is the longest bony fish in the world. They can grow to a length of over 50 feet.
Sea serpent legends throughout history are thought to stem from oarfish sightings.