Mallorca: Shark which forced beach evacuation dies as rescuers drag it out of sea

Footage shows bathers watching on as police haul animal away from water

Tom Embury-Dennis@tomemburyd
Saturday 04 August 2018 01:18
Panic as shark forces Majorca tourist beach evacuation

A shark which forced an evacuation of panicked tourists from a packed Mallorcan beach has died after it was dragged it out of the sea.

The 10ft blue shark was filmed swimming in the shallows at Cala Domingos, a popular sandy beach on the island’s east coast, on Thursday afternoon as bathers, including children, watched on.

Footage showed crowds on shore and standing on rocks above watching the animal swim in the crystal clear water just feet away.

Workers at a beach club on Cala Domingos told a local newspaper the shark caused panic among beachgoers nearby. Police closed the beach, but nobody is believed to have been hurt by the animal.

A local lifeguard company, Salvament Aquatic Illes, said the “disoriented” fish needed to be rescued, and biologists brought the animal out of the water.

Images and video then showed police dragging the shark up the beach in front of stunned children. At least five men could be seen hauling it away from the water.

“The police, along with lifeguards and staff from Palma Aquarium removed the animal. We fear for its life,” the lifeguard company tweeted. “The beach of Cala Domingos, in Manacor, was evacuated at 3pm.”

Despite initial reports the shark had survived, emergency services later revealed biologists found it “without life” after dragging it from the water.

Palma Aquarium said its rescue team received a call to say the shark had beached and was writhing on the sand.

"At that time some bathers returned him to the water," it said in a statement. "While the technical team was heading to the area, the animal returned to the shore several times, even hit the rocks, which would indicate their poor health."

As the team approached, the shark was motionless under the water and failed to react, the aquarium said, indicating its health was "very serious and irreversible".

"Given the seriousness of the situation, and the condition of the shark, the Palma Aquarium veterinary team decided to tow it to the shore and administer a euthanasia sedative, in order to prevent it from continuing to suffer in a state in which it would not be able to survive," it added.

The incident comes a month after a 5-metre great white shark was spotted off the coast of Mallorca, the first sighting of one in the Mediterranean in more than three decades.

Blue sharks are common in the Mediterranean Sea, but usually inhabit deeper waters, preferring cooler temperatures.

Whereas attacks on humans appear to be rare – only four confirmed fatalities in 500 years – between 10 and 20 million blue sharks are killed by humans every year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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