18-ft oarfish found of Los Angeles coast (CIMI)

The corpse of an 18-foot sea monster has been discovered off the Californian coast by a diver with the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI).

The remains of the rare oarfish, with eyes the size of half-dollar coins, were discovered by marine science instructor Jasmine Santana in the waters of Catalina Island's Toyon Bay, 22 miles from the Port of Los Angeles.

According to KTLA News, the snake-like fish had died from natural causes and was almost completely intact.

Santana spotted a large silvery fish at the bottom of the sea while swimming in 20ft of water. In total, it took around 15 people to drag the oarfish ashore.

Normally, oarfish live in much deeper waters and are rarely found so close to shore, Jeff Chace from CIMI said. They normally dive to over 3,000 feet and little is known about them because of their deep sea habitats. They can grow up to 50ft in length and are thought to be solitary animals.

Oarfish sightings are extremely rare and little is known about them (CIMI)

Chase said the find was the "discovery of a lifetime".

"It's one of these rare weird things you see in Southern California," he said.

Dive instructor Connor Gallagher added: "The craziest thing we saw during our two day-journey at sea happened when we got home. These islands never cease to amaze."

CIMI runs a camp that teaches children to snorkel, kayak and hike. After the oarfish was hauled ashore, children and camp employees were able to take a closer look at the rare species.

The institute is now trying to work out what to do with the remains and have been in touch with the University of California Santa Barbara and the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles.

If no one wants to take the carcass, Chase said they may bury it under the sand to let it decompose so they are left with an 18ft skeleton to display. "We can't even really fit it into our freezer," he said.