SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The first day of a Maryland family’s vacation was a memorable one as they witnessed a large mammal that had washed ashore Saturday in Surfside Beach.

Peggy Haney, of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, said her family has been vacationing in the Myrtle Beach area for years, but they have never seen anything like what they saw after going to the beach a few hours after arriving on Saturday.

“We saw some police activity and a crowd of people on the beach, and we asked our oldest son to do down there and check it out,” she said. “He went down and looked, and when he came back, he said he thought it was some sort of whale.”

The family is staying in the 1200 block of South Ocean Boulevard, and Haney said the mammal was on the beach about two blocks north of where they’re staying. She said there was a crowd gathered and a beach patrol officer was also there.

“It was actually really sad,” Haney said. “We didn’t know what it was. It looked like it could be a shark at first.”

Haney said she does not know how long the mammal had been on the beach or anything about how it was removed. WBTW has reached out to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to try to get more information.