Several bull sharks were spotted near a pier in Jacksonville, Florida, today, sending spring break beachgoers fleeing from the surf as the animals approached to within feet of the shoreline.
The sharks appeared around 3 p.m. this afternoon, according to WJXT. At first, a single fin broke the surface in knee-deep water near the pier at Jacksonville Beach, startling swimmers, who immediately exited the water. Soon thereafter, another fin was spotted near the pier’s pilings, leading some observers to realize that more than one shark was prowling near the surfline.
Though the species of shark has yet to be confirmed by authorities, at least one of the animals is believed to be a bull shark, as a local fisherman attested that he caught and released one nearby around the time that the fins were spotted. Whether or not the bull shark he landed was one of the two noted by beachgoers, shark fishing near populated beaches has proven to be a contentious issue in the past, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
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After the initial exodus from the surf subsided, some beachgoers returned to the water’s edge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the six-foot-long sharks. According to Admir Osmanovic, who was nearby, the commotion drew the attention of a small crowd.
“I was playing soccer, and then I saw everybody just stop, looking, and I’m like, ‘What’s everybody looking at?’ And then I turn around and I see just everybody running, and there’s a shark. It’s about a 6-foot shark,” he recalled. “Instead of everybody running away, everybody is coming to the water, we’re checking it out, we’re pretty close to it. It was pretty cool, you know. First time ever seeing a shark in 15 years living in Jacksonville.”
— Tarik Minor (@WJXTTarikMinor) March 16, 2015
Bull sharks have proven to be responsible for several bites in Florida over each of the last few years. Last May, a 44-year-old woman was wading in thigh-deep water at Jacksonville Beach when she was struck by a shark, which lacerated her foot. According to WPTV, the species of shark responsible for that attack was never identified.
Though the species represents one of the few sharks capable of inflicting lethal damage on a human being, the last confirmed fatality attributed to a bull shark in Florida took place in 2005.
[Image via WJXT]