Southern California: A marine science instructor snorkelling off the Southern California coast on Sunday spotted the silvery carcass of what turned out to be an enormous 18-foot-long (5.5 metres) oarfish.
Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) needed more than 15 helpers to drag the giant, serpent-like creature to the shore of Santa Catalina Island.
Staffers at the institute are calling it the discovery of a lifetime.
Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet (914 metres) deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, according to CIMI.
The fish apparently died of natural causes.
Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California in Santa Barbara.
Santana spotted something shimmering about 30 feet (9.1 metres) down while snorkelling during a staff trip in Toyon Bay, Santa Catalina Island.
After she dragged the carcass by the tail for more than 75 feet (22.8 metres), staffers waded in and helped her bring it to shore.
The carcass was on display on Tuesday for students studying at CIMI.
It will be buried in the sand until it decomposes and then its skeleton will be reconstructed for display.
The oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet (15 metres), is a deep-water pelagic fish - the longest bony fish in the world, according to CIMI.
They are likely responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history.