KEY WEST, Fla. — More than 100 baby loggerhead turtles hatched at a busy Key West beach for the first time in three decades.

Ralph Capone, president and founder of the Key West Sea Turtle Club, said turtles hadn’t hatched successfully at Higgs Beach since the 1980s because there’s not enough sand for a turtle to dig and lay eggs — it’s mostly coral.

But in May, a turtle dug a hole and laid her eggs near a beach volleyball court. County employees temporarily took down the court and built protective fencing around the nest.

County officials released the news Thursday saying the babies hatched Sunday night and 104 turtles headed to sea.

Capone said he found four infertile eggs and two hatchlings that did not survive. One live hatchling straggler was escorted to the sea later that night.

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