A massive great white shark has kept Newcastle beaches closed for a seventh day, in a scene reminiscent of the movie Jaws, as locals in the Australian town grow weary of waiting out the predator.
The white shark, which first appeared a week ago, has been described by lifeguards as “of a size that has not been seen before,” according to Grind TV. The shark measures 16-feet-long, and has been estimated to weigh 3,700 pounds from photographs. At that weight, the white shark would exhibit a girth roughly equivalent to that of a small elephant.
Though intimidating, the great white is not alone in the area, according to Mashable. Another shark, measuring three meters long, has been sighted in Newcastle by a lifeguard using a jet ski. Just yesterday, a third shark was spotted preying upon a dolphin off Burwood beach, as the Inquisitr previously reported. According to the local council, several dolphin carcasses have washed ashore, exhibiting bite marks from large sharks.
— The Daily Telegraph (@dailytelegraph) January 15, 2015
“It is not safe for anyone to be in the water, including board riders, even close to shore, as sharks are known to move into the surf zone, hunting prey between where the surf breaks and the shoreline,” the council noted.
As Newcastle residents grow weary of staying out of the water, some have defied warnings and headed back into the sea, surfing or wading despite the closed beaches. According to Peter Withers, aquatic services coordinator for the City Council, authorities wish to be cautious about making sure the white shark and its brethren have departed before reopening the shoreline.
“We don’t want to make rash decisions because we have gone 24 hours [without a confirmed sighting] and then we see it four or five times in a day…. We have had flyovers where nothing was there, and an hour later the shark was back again.”
All Newy beaches will remain closed Friday due to shark sightings in coastal waters today. Stay out of the water and stay safe. #sharkwatch
— City of Newcastle (@CityNewcastle) January 15, 2015
While some are willing to risk the waves, others remain cautious. For surfer Craig Hollier, the sight of a dolphin that had fallen victim to a shark was all that was needed to keep him out of the ocean.
“It was a full dolphin except there was a section of its tail missing,” he recalled. “People hear about the great white but they still go out. This shows what can happen to someone. I won’t be going back to any Newcastle beaches… I’ll be heading to Catherine Hill Bay instead.”
Authorities contend that the beaches will be open after two days pass without a sighting of the great white or any other shark.
[Image: Peter Stoop/Heliservices Newcastle via Grind TV]