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Thousands of dead prawns wash up on Chile beach (VIDEO)

Officials in Chile are investigating the death of thousands of prawns that washed onto a beach Wednesday, turning it red.
Chile dead prawnsEnlarge
A man looks al the thousands of shrimp found dead on the beach of Coronel, some 330 miles south of Santiago. A three-kilometer swath of southern Chile's coastline is carpeted in red: thousands of small prawns were stranded for no apparent reason, surprising locals and prompting an official investigation. Fishermen in the Coronel area began noticing something out of the ordinary at the beginning of the week — giant 'red spots' appearing just off the shore. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Officials in Chile are investigating the death of thousands of prawns that washed onto a beach Wednesday, turning it red.

The shrimp came ashore in the town of Coronel, about 330 miles south of Santiago.

According to the Associated Press, local fisherman said the Bocamina 1 and 2 power plants, which are owned by regional electricity generator Endesa and Colburn power company's Santa Maria plant have been heating the waters, endangering the prawns living in it. Hundreds of dead crabs washed up in the same area over the weekend.

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"I'm 69 years old and started fishing when I was 9, but as a fisherman, I never saw a disaster of this magnitude," Gregorio Ortega told local Radio Bio Bio.

"We're going to be collecting as much evidence as possible to determine if this is an environmental crime," Ana Maria Aldana, a Chilean prosecutor for environmental crimes, told state television.

Colburn declined to comment on the incident, and an Endesa spokesman said the company was aware of what had happened and would issue a statement later.

Chile's energy-intensive mining industry is in desperate need of more power, with some analysts saying the country will have to triple its capacity in 15 years. Chile imports 97 percent of its fossil fuels and has no domestic oil or natural gas.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/thousands-dead-prawns-wash-chile-beach-video