Feds looking for swimmers who rode dead whale

Published On: Dec 20 2012 10:26:33 AM EST
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. -

Federal officials are looking for the two swimmers who were seen riding a dying whale in South Florida.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asks anyone with more information to call their hotline (800-856-1964).

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports a Pompano Beach resident snapped a picture of one man riding the dying whale Sunday morning. The swimmers could face a misdemeanor conviction of harassing a marine mammal, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

City officials had the 40-foot sperm whale carcass towed out to sea rather than allow scientists to perform a necropsy. Federal officials argued that learning the animal's cause of death would provide invaluable information for conservation.