Tourists swimming at Cape Cod were sent scrambling to shore Thursday after a shark spotter caught sight of a very large great white shark off Newcomb Hollow Beach, where a swimmer was killed last year in a shark attack.
A striking photo posted by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shows the shadowy shark prowling just beyond the breaking waves, as tourists stood on the beach to wait it out.
Officials did not say how long the tourists had to wait, but the conservancy says it is a risky time of the year for swimmers off Cape Cod.
“August - October are peak months of white shark activity off Cape Cod,” the conservancy posted on Facebook. “Whether or not a sighting is reported, we advise caution and recommend not venturing beyond waist deep water.”
The photo was taken by spotter pilot Wayne Davis over Newcomb Hollow Beach, the northernmost beach on the Wellfleet strip of Cape Cod.
More than 600 people have shared the photo on Facebook in the past day and 300 have commented, many expressing fear of swimming at a site known to attract hungry sharks in search of seals.
“The beaches are breathtaking. However you will not see me putting more than my feet in the water... Love my sharks, but I love my feet more,” posted Kelly Jean Yap on the conservancy’s Facebook page.
“It’s really irresponsible for experts to continue to push this idea of being cautious in the water...Don’t go in the water!” wrote Tag Gross.
“It’s their world. Once you put your foot in the water, you become a part of the food chain,” said Mark Anthony on Facebook.
Newcomb Hollow is the same spot where the National Park Service says 26-year-old Arthur Medici of Revere, Massachusetts, was fatally attacked by a shark in September 2018, about 30 feet off shore. The attack took place about 12:30 p.m.
A witness reported seeing Medici, who was on a boogie board, “aggressively kick something behind him and a flicker of a tail from the water” just before the attack, according to The Guardian. Medici was later pronounced dead at a hospital, the Guardian reported.
There have been three confirmed shark attacks off North Carolina beaches this year, including one that cost a teenage girl one leg and some fingers. All three of the attack victims survived.