NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – State and city officials said that at least 40 birds were found dead on beaches near Myrtle Beach over the weekend.

In a press release, the city of North Myrtle Beach spoke out to dispel rumors on social media about “hundreds” or “dozens” of birds found dead on the shore. 

According to the city, three birds, including two pelicans, were found dead in one location and several others were found in another.

A South Carolina Department of Natural Resources representative told the city that he found 30 dead birds on the beaches on Saturday.

On Sunday, 10 more birds were found dead by a member of the city’s beach patrol.

Four species of birds are represented among those that died, including pelicans and seagulls.

Some on social media have suggested that the bird deaths are directly related to a diesel spill emanating from the beach renourishment dredge vessel located off our shore. The city says there has been no confirmation of any fuel spill or that the deaths are due to a fuel spill. 

Several times on Sunday U.S. Coast Guard and SCDHEC personnel flew the coast from Myrtle Beach, SC to Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. looking for signs of diesel or other fuel spills on the water. They did not see any evidence of spills.

The U.S. Coast Guard, SCDHEC, SCDNR, the City, and the beach renourishment contractor are meeting together and exploring the situation.

So far, the contractor nor any of the gathered agencies are aware of any fuel leaks. 

The pelicans have been sent off for a necropsy, the equivalent of an autopsy.  A representative sample of each specie examined at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Georgia.