Shark leaves beachgoers screaming after making sudden lurch towards them in shallow waters

A still from the shark encounter​ video

A still from the shark encounter video

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 04/07/2023

- 11:56

Startled paddlers scramble out of the water at Perdido Key Beach in Florida

A black dorsal fin descending on a beach in Florida caused beachgoers to race from the ocean and onto the safety of dry land on Sunday afternoon.

Holidaymakers and locals alike were caught off guard by the intrepid visitor, as the shark began thrashing around in the shallows.

In video footage shared to social media, agitated onlookers watch as two girls exit the water calmly before the shark appears to beeline for a pair floating further out before turning back.

The close call follows another recent sighting caught on camera in Florida, when a hammerhead shark was filmed circling a paddleboarder.

A still from the shark encounter\u200b

The odds of being attacked or killed in a shark attack are around 1 in 3.7million, according to the International Wildlife Museum


The hammerhead was filmed circling Malea Tribble, who was competing in The Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis 85-mile paddleboard race from the Bahamas to Lake Worth Beach in Florida.

In the footage, her husband, Ricky, can be heard guiding her calmly to the safety of a boat while a dorsal fin follows the paddleboard.

Ricky can be heard saying: “Malea, come to the side. You are doing good.”

According to the organisers, Tribble is a three-time participant and two-time paddler in the Crossing event.

The organisers affectionally referred to the shark as a “curious and friendly visitor.”

\u200bPaddleboarder with hammerhead in tow

Paddleboarder with hammerhead in tow


Founder and Executive Director of The Crossing For CF event, Travis Suit, reflected on the situation: “We are grateful Malea was not harmed and so proud of the calm and disciplined response the Tribble’s had during the situation as paddle mentors in this event, providing a great example of how to handle close encounters like this.

“We are visitors when we are in the ocean, it’s really their home, so it’s to be expected.”

According to the International Shark Attack File, there have only been 16 recorded incidents between humans and hammerhead sharks since 1900, and there has never been a recorded fatality.

According to Floridapanhandle, a total of 1,225 shark bites and attacks have been recorded in the past 47 years worldwide, with approximately 14 per cent of those being fatal.

According to the site, it's been 15 years since anyone has been fatally attacked by a shark in Florida.

The United States has recorded the most attacks at 720, with a fatality rate of 6 per cent.

truck full of dead sharks

Asian shark fin demand has threatened species in Peru


Meanwhile, Australia and Africa’s attack tallies of 261 and 72 are met by fatality rates of 23 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.

Speaking on declining numbers of attacks, Gavin Naylor, a shark researcher at Florida Museum of Natural History, told USA Today that "the number of sharks in the world’s oceans has decreased, which may have contributed to recent lulls.”

Florida Museum of Natural History’s Florida Program for Shark Research have put out research on actions you can take to reduce the already slim likelihood of an attack, including removing reflective jewellery, avoiding areas where people are fishing, leaving the water should you see abundant bait fish, and swimming infront of a lifeguard.

The museum also recommends refraining from wandering too far from shore, swimming in dim or dark light and swimming alone.

Sharks account for 95 per cent of the world's global fin trade.

Up to 100 million sharks are killed each year, 73 million for their fins to service the demand for the Asian delicacy of shark fin soup, taking one in three shark species to the brink of extinction, according to the Natural History Museum.

Chinese culture believes that shark fins can boost sexual potency, enhance skin quality, increase QI and produce many other miraculous health benefits.

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