MARATHON, Fla. - A female hawksbill sea turtle airlifted from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Florida Keys has died.
Turtle Hospital staff discovered that the endangered turtle named 'Good Hope' had died when they arrived at its tank Tuesday to prepare it for surgery.
A necropsy will be performed after a veterinarian harvests its eggs.
Any viable eggs will be incubated along with more than 60 others the turtle laid while at the hospital.
The eggs are being warmed in sand shipped from Good Hope Beach in St. Croix, where the severely injured turtle was found Aug. 24.
The surgery would have repaired damage to the turtle's lower eyelids.
Officials say Good Hope's death came as a surprise because the turtle had been responding to treatment.
Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.