A live shark fell from the sky onto a Southern California golf course and was found wiggling around on the 12th tee, about four miles away from the Pacific Ocean.
Melissa McCormack, director of club operations at the San Juan Hills Golf Club, where the shark was discovered, stated, “Honestly, this is the weirdest thing that’s happened here.”
USA Today notes that, as McCormack tells it, a course marshal discovered the shark on Monday afternoon, bringing it back to the clubhouse.
Bryan Stizer, a cart attendant, placed the two-foot-long creature into a bucket of salty water and drove it to a beach at Dana Point, where he released it. Stizer recalled:
“I thought he was dead. When I dropped him into the water, he just [lay] there for a few seconds, but then he did a twist and shot off into the water.”
Fox News notes that the small leopard shark was likely taken from the ocean by a bird, which then dropped it on the California golf course. Stizer found puncture marks on the shark before he released it, which looked to be from a bird holding the shark in its talons.
McCormack believes that the predator was likely an osprey or a peregrine falcon. Julianne Steers, the chief aquarist at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, stated, “You hate to think a human could do this.”
McCormack also stated of Stizer’s willingness to help the shark, “He went above and beyond.” She added that, once they put the shark in the bucket, “we knew we had to get it to the ocean as fast as possible.” Before the shark left the golf course, she grabbed a photo of it.