PHOTOS: Great white shark stranded on Chatham beach

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:


CHATHAM, Mass. ( - State officials said a great white shark that was found trapped on a Chatham beach is expected to survive.

A small crowd surrounded the nearly seven and a half foot shark after it was discovered Monday morning, according to witnesses.

"When we got closer, we saw it thrashing in the water, trying to keep its gills wet," said Isabelle Hegland.

Hegland took pictures as other beachgoers used children's sand buckets to splash water on the young male shark, trying to keep alive while help was called.

"The public was really just nervous that it was going to die. That was our main concern, to make sure it didn't die," Hegland said.

Meanwhile, marine fisheries officials with Massachusetts Fish & Game, happened to be tagging great white sharks just off the coast in Chatham as part of their study of shark movement with the Atlantic Great White Shark Conservancy.

David Pierce of MA Fish & Game said marine fisheries officials rushed to help rescue the shark, and began by dragging it into deeper water to resuscitate the animal.

"As you pull it through the water, the water goes through the gills and you get that oxygen exchange with the blood through the gill surface and that just revitalizes the animal," Pierce told Fox 25.

Officials were able to tag the shark, and then drag it a mile out to sea before releasing it.

Hegland said it was exciting to be so close to a great white shark, but said it's an experience she doesn't necessarily want to have again.

"I think it would be fine if that was my last shark encounter. I do always swim in the oceans here so I would like to not meet one ever again," Hegland said.

Check out the photo gallery above to see photos of the shark. Mobile app users, click here to view the photo gallery.

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