Officials closed all of the beaches in St. Lucie County, Florida, on Monday (June 15) after a number of sharks were sighted in worrying proximity to shore.
The closures were caused by a group of reef sharks, which were spotted at Waveland Beach around 2 p.m., according to WPTV. The sharks were reportedly trailing a school of bait fish, and though they are commonly seen in the region during this time of year, the animals nevertheless were unusually close to shore. By 4 p.m., the sharks still hadn’t moved away from the surf line, prompting officials to close the beaches an hour later.
According to WPBF, a lifeguard attested to seeing as many as eight sharks traveling along the shoreline at one point. Video taken by the St. Lucie County government documented at least two of those sharks, revealing how close they were to the beaches as they moved through the surf break. Those sharks were estimated to be between five and seven feet in length, as WTSP reports, and were filmed swimming with their dorsal fins raised out of the water.
— Kimberly Miller (@KMillerWeather) June 16, 2015
Michelle Fowler, a counselor at a local Environmental Studies Center, was leading a field trip to the area when the sharks appeared. She related that the predators caused both a sense of curiosity and caution among her campers, who were able to view the sharks up close.
“We got out of the water to keep the kids safe, walked along the shore and saw two seven-feet long sharks” she noted. “Their fins came out. The kids loved it. It was awesome. And (the sharks) are still out there.”
The beach closures came just a day after a series of shark attacks that took place further up the coastline, in North Carolina. As the Inquisitr previously reported, both a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were attacked just two miles from each other, losing their left arms in the incidents. It is still unknown what species of shark was responsible for the attacks, though researchers have suggested that a bull shark could have been the culprit.
On Tuesday (June 16), all St. Lucie County beaches reopened following the sharks’ departure. Authorities advised beachgoers in that region of Florida to restrict their activities to shorelines with active lifeguards who could potentially spot sharks in the water.
[Photo by SLCTV / YouTube]