Things looked grim for the juvenile great white shark that washed up on a Chatham, Massachusetts beach. Caught in the shallows during low tide, the big creature was left to flail hopelessly on land—desperate for breath.
“There was no way for the shark to get to where it could swim, so it just kept flapping and moving over,” one witness told WCVB.
That’s when beachgoers and rescuers stepped in. Dramatic footage posted to YouTube shows men dousing the shark with buckets of water, until the harbor master and a shark expert—identified as Stuart Smith and Gregory Skomal respectively— could get the great white back into the ocean.
MA DMF’s Dr. Skomal, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Chatham Harbormaster revived this 7′ male white shark today. The shark was beached inside the South Beach cut in Chatham, and was led out to open ocean. #SupportResearch #AWSC #CapeCod #Chatham #Sharks #SharkWeek
A photo posted by Atlantic White Shark (@a_whiteshark) on
In the video, the men are eventually able to tow the shark back out to sea—using their boat and a length of rope. The shark was tagged, then released back into open waters.
The whole process took nearly an hour.
The shark was not yet to full maturity, was measured to be around 7-feet-long. It reportedly beached itself in an attempt to snack on a seagull.
Cynthia Wigren, of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told WCVB:
“Last year we known that sharks were in that area, and that it got shallow and it was hard for them to get out. It was hard for them to get out, but for a shark to be beached is a big deal.”
See raw footage from the rescue below.