A young great white shark has died after becoming stranded on a beach in California.

The 8ft fish washed up in the shallows in Santa Cruz and biologists fear it may have contracted a bacterial infection that is known to be killing other species of shark.

On Friday evening, at about 6.30pm, the great white became trapped on a shallow reef at Pleasure Point, a popular surfing spot, KSBW8 reported.

It was visibly injured and remained stuck despite a rescue attempt by the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Police ordered bystanders away from the predator as crowds gathered.

Researcher Sean Van Sommeran told the station: "We were able to get the shark upright and in the water. It just kind of turned around. It was aimless."

The outgoing tide revealed the shark's fate on Saturday morning.

A team of veterinarians will now examine the carcass to discover why the shark died, with results expected by Monday.