Sunday, July 21, 2024

Canary Islands tourist warning as huge shark spotted hurtling towards beach

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A Gran Canaria beach was closed to swimming after a seven-foot shark frightened locals and tourists. Young girls screamed as the shark sped towards the shore with its fin visible above the water.

Police rushed to Melenara Beach on the island’s east coast after the alarm was raised around 5pm yesterday. Lifeguards had already cleared the sea and raised the red flag.

Footage showed children running to safety as the shark approached the shore before turning back. A man was seen holding a child safely on the sand as the shark came near.

A Telde Council spokesman said: “It’s important people stay calm and follow the instructions of the lifeguards and the authorities.”

A young girl who was in the water described the scene: “The lifeguard started blowing his whistle and indicating everyone should get out of the water and I looked round and saw its fin.”

Her friend added: “We saw the fin which was about seven inches out of the water and we began to move as fast as we could back towards the beach.”

Jet skis were used to search for the shark but it was not found. It was uncertain this morning if the red flag would remain in place.

The shark was identified locally as a hammerhead shark, which can grow up to 20 feet long. While most hammerhead species are harmless to humans, they are aggressive hunters.

Last month, tourists and locals were banned from swimming after a shark sighting off a Menorcan beach. The red flag was raised and authorities were alerted after a seven-foot blue shark was seen.

Blue sharks rarely bite humans but have been involved in several incidents. A blue shark attacked a holidaymaker in Elche near Alicante in July 2016, causing a large hand wound.

In June last year, a seven-foot blue shark caused panic at a Costa Blanca beach, leading bathers to flee through waist-high water. The shark was later found dead at La Caleta Beach.

Shark sightings are uncommon in the Canary Islands.

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