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Large shark prompts lifeguards to briefly close Nokomis Beach

Posted at 10:08 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 07:24:52-04

NOKOMIS, Fla. -- A section of Nokomis Public Beach was closed Tuesday afternoon after a large shark cruised the swim zone for nearly an hour.

People out enjoying Nokomis Beach were in for a treat and a scare Tuesday afternoon as a hammerhead shark trolled through the swim area for more than an hour.

“I’ve never seen (a shark) like that close,” Adam Gebel said. Gebel said dozens of beachgoers lined the shores to take pictures and video. Gebel was one of them.

“It would go to the deep for like a few seconds and just come back. It would not leave,” Gebel said.

Gebel said the shark was not showing aggression and swimming calmly.

“It was crazy,” Gebel said. “If you don’t mess with it, then it’s not going to hurt you or anything. I was actually surprised no one did anything dumb or anything.”

Lifeguards closed the swim area for more than an hour. They waited 45 minutes to give the all clear once the shark swam away from the beach.

There were dozens of people in the water when the shark appeared as just a large shadow under the water. Many people, at first, thought it was a dolphin or manatee.

“Having a hammerhead shark like that close in that was amazing to see since we don’t really see it that often unless you go to an aquarium,” Bianca Kinker said. Kinker was in the water with some friends when she noticed the massive shark swimming near her.

“It was like sardines we were all like very close together, Kinker said. “Everyone was trying to get in the water to get a closer picture, and no one was really thinking about the shark. I tried to get as close as I could to that thing cause I just wanted to pet it.”

Despite Kinker’s enthusiasm, other swimmers planned to stay as far away from any sharks as possible.

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” Gebel said.

This was a second shark-sighting video shared by viewers this week. Boaters in Anna Maria Island shared a video of a large hammerhead shark swimming near their boat.

“We were just about to jump in for a swim,” Corinne Lough, the boater who saw the hammerhead shark, told ABC Action News.

On Tuesday, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office posted a video of hammerhead sharks in the waters off Anclote Key.

No swimmers were injured. Lifeguards kept people out of the water. They will be monitoring the shoreline and warning swimmers if any more sharks are spotted.