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In this Tuesday photo provided by the National Park Service, pilot whales are in shallow waters just off a beach in a remote area of the western portion of Everglades National Park, Fla.

Pilot whales stranded in Everglades

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. – Nearly four dozen pilot whales were stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park, and six have died, federal officials said Wednesday.

Forty-six whales were swimming in about 3 feet of salt water, said Blai Mase, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Volunteers are keeping an eye on the whales, though no one is getting in the water for safety reasons, Mase said.

"This scenario is very challenging because of where they are," Mase said.

Officials typically have access to heavy equipment to rescue stranded whales, but the area in which these whales are stuck is accessible only by boat.

The short fin pilot whales were spotted Tuesday in a remote area of the park near Highland Beach. Officials don't know how long they've been stranded or how they got there.

The whales usually swim together in large groups, so it's not uncommon for multiple whales to get stranded at once.

Mase said the whales are known to inhabit deep water, "so they are very out of their home range."