Shark washes ashore on Atlantic Beach
Lifeguard says another shark spotted in water Tuesday morning
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – A couple of shark sightings in Atlantic Beach in the last couple of days were exciting for some beachgoers to see, but terrifying for others.
A video taken Monday shows a good Samaritan helping a shark that washed ashore near 19th Street in Atlantic Beach get back into the ocean.
Rebecca Lewtan, who lives on Jacksonville's Westside, told News4Jax that she recorded the cellphone video on Memorial Day, when she was visiting Atlantic Beach with her children. She said she didn't know the man in the video and it didn't take him long to get the shark back into the deeper water.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission watched the cellphone video, and said it doesn't appear the man did anything wrong since he was trying to help the shark.
On Tuesday, News4Jax was told by a lifeguard on duty that another shark of a similar size was spotted in waters off Atlantic Beach earlier in the morning.
"I saw a 4- to 5-foot shark. It was swimming around here," said 13-year-old beachgoer Malakhi Gordon.
Celia Ziolo, who was visiting from Massachusetts and who's not a huge fan of sharks, didn't see it with her own eyes, but was told about the shark by the lifeguard.
"I was in the water and just, kind of, standing in the shoreline and he asked me if I was planning on going back in and I said I wasn't. He said, 'OK. Good. Just to let you know, I spotted about a 4-foot shark in the area," Ziolo said. "I was terrified, but it didn't seem like he was panicking. He seemed pretty cool about it."
Though both Ziolo and Gordon said they don't want to come too close to a shark, they also understand that the ocean is a shark's home.
"Keeping your eyes open for jumping fish, and steer clear. So, just being aware, not taking for granted we're going into their environment, to be respectful of that," Ziolo said.
Gordon shared her plan if she did spot a shark while she was swimming in the ocean.
"I would try to get out of the water in a calm, orderly fashion," the teen said. "Don't mess with them, they won't mess with you."
Florida Fish and Wildlife could not confirm what kind of shark washed ashore based on the video, but it could be a blacktip shark, which are is the most common inshore shark found off the coast of Florida.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the majority of shark bites in Florida are likely attributable to blacktip sharks.
News4Jax records show there have been two shark bites this year in Northeast Florida, seven in 2016 and seven in 2015.
If you ever come across a shark, or any other animal, and you don't know what to do with it, FWC asks you to call its tip line at 888-404-FWCC.
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