Dramatic Video Captures Moment Florida Beachgoers Wrestle Stranded Shark Back to Sea
02:46 GMT 19.09.2023 (Updated: 03:52 GMT 19.09.2023)
The Mako shark is a known deadly and fierce hunter, having secured the title of maintaining the fastest hunting speed of any shark in the ocean; however, the shark's population has been reduced by 50% to 79% over the last 75 years due to overfishing.
A group of beach goers at Florida's Pensacola Beach recently experienced a shocking surprise when they stumbled upon an almost 10-foot Mako shark that had managed to beach itself.
Video footage of the scene showed how - more than once - the shark’s powerful movements proved to be too strong for the men trying to lead it back into the water. However, eventually they did just that, managing to lead the stunned shark back into the depths of the tides, where it paused for a moment before swimming off.
A couple had originally been at the beach to celebrate their wedding anniversary when the husband noticed a shark heading straight toward them, and yelled at his wife to “get out of the water.”
“We were sitting on the beach just having a good time and my buddy just said, ‘Look out in the water there, man.’ I see that fin and I was like, yeah, it was two or three sandbars away from us,” Josh Fey, explained.
His wife Tina filmed the video as he and a group of other men helped the thrashing beast back into the water.
“Eventually it just turned to the left and started coming directly beeline toward the shoreline, and I said, ‘That’s a big shark coming in.’ And we thought it was chasing some bait or whatnot, but it came all the way to shoreline and beached itself.”
It is not immediately clear why, or how the shark managed to beach itself. But Kennady Brinley, a stranding coordinator with Emerald Coast Wildlife, says animals can sometimes beach themselves due to stress, an illness, abnormal rip currents, or simply getting lost looking for food.
Brinley underscored that if someone encounters a beached shark, they should not pull it backwards by its fins, as video showed beachgoers doing.
"Sharks always have to be moving forward," she said. "That's why when you see them swimming, they're always moving forward. So whenever they're pulled backwards, that is allowing for an opportunity for drowning to occur."
She adds that the men gave the Mako a chance at survival, but that it is important to call organizations like the Emerald Coast Wildlife or Florida Fish and Wildlife for help in such moments.
Mako sharks can reach up to 13 feet in length and can weigh around 1,200 pounds in weight. They are also the fastest sharks in the ocean and can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. While the shark that was saved was reported to be a longfin mako shark, the shortfin mako shark was classified as endangered by the International Union Conservation of Nature.