Chessie, Giant Tiger Shark, Visits The Outer Banks Amid Attack Speculation

Beachgoers on the Outer Banks have a new visitor to keep an eye out for as Chessie, a massive tiger shark tagged last month by Ocearch researchers, has entered the area while continuing her swim up the coast.

Chessie is considered the largest tiger shark ever documented on the East Coast, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. First encountered last month, the shark was tagged off Hilton Head Island, making headlines for its notable size. Described as having a head "as big as a great white's," Chessie measures 12 feet, two inches and weighs roughly 1,200 pounds.

After swimming off the coast of Charleston for several weeks, the tiger shark set out northward on a course along the coast, eventually visiting Myrtle Beach before moving into the Cape Fear River last week. As Fox 8 reports, by that time Chessie had traveled over 1,000 miles since she was first tagged. Hardly stopping after moving into the river, Chessie continued onward, and has now reached the ocean just off the Outer Banks.

The shark's trip into North Carolina waters has not been without controversy, however. As Refinery 29 notes, Chessie moved into the area just as a series of shark attacks took place along the coast. Two of the incidents, which transpired within several miles and less than two hours apart, were particularly brutal, badly injuring both a 12-and 16-year-old.

Despite speculation that Chessie could have been the shark that attacked one or both of the teens, the truth is that Ocearch's tag places her near the southern tip of the Outer Banks on Sunday (June 14), when the incidents took place. More recently, researchers have also suggested that a bull shark could have been responsible for the attacks, which happened in waist-deep water. Officials patrolling the beaches spotted several tiger sharks in the region on Monday, though they did not pose an immediate threat.As of Monday evening, Chessie was located just off the coast of Hatteras Island, signaling researchers multiple times. Her most recent ping came at 12:40 p.m. on June 16, placing the shark further out to sea off Pamlico Sound. Chessie is hardly alone off the North Carolina coast, however, and is approaching an area that only a week ago saw another of Ocearch's most famous sharks (a great white named Mary Lee) pass by. While that shark moves south toward Florida, it remains anyone's guess whether Chessie the tiger shark will continue swimming northward.

[Photo via Twitter/ Fox 8]