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Shark surfaces near Myrtle Beach, but ‘we’re not on the menu’

This undated photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a great white shark encountered off the coast of Massachusetts.
This undated photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a great white shark encountered off the coast of Massachusetts. AP

An eight-foot white shark named Savannah may be among the visitors to the Myrtle Beach area this weekend, according to a research organization that tracks the creatures.

Savannah was last tracked about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, OCEARCH reported, several miles off the coast of South Carolina between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, roughly parallel to McClellanville.

According to OCEARCH, Savannah is an 8-foot, 460-pound female white shark.

OCEARCH’s Twitter page for Savannah playfully reported her whereabouts on Thursday.

The first tweet indicating Savannah was in the Myrtle Beach area was sent Tuesday.

If you’re headed to Myrtle Beach soon and worried about running into Savannah, don’t, says one of OCEARCH’s expedition leaders.

“Tracking data suggests (great whites) may prefer coastal waters to open ocean, but people shouldn’t be nervous,” Chris Fischer, OCEARCH’s founding chairman, told The Island Packet in March. “They’re not interacting with people. We’re not on the menu.”

The research group has caught, tagged and tracked 22 great white sharks in the Atlantic since 2012.

Savannah was tagged on March 5 near Hilton Head, according to OCEARCH. She’s traveled more than 200 miles since being tagged, but most of that was in the waters off the Lowcountry coast.

OCEARCH, a nonprofit that conducts scientific research on great white sharks and other large marine predators, lets people keep up with the sharks using its website, Twitter accounts and apps.

OCEARCH tracks the sharks in the wild using tagging devices attached to the fish’s dorsal fin during a 15-minute procedure in which the sharks are brought onto a boat fitted for the purpose. The tracking devices send signals to a satellite when the sharks break the surface of the water long enough (about 90 seconds) to send three “pings.”

Fishermen with Outcast Sport Fishing tagged and released their fifth great white shark of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Owner Chip Michalove said he works with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to equip the sharks with the tags so the

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