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Duxbury Beach shark sighting forces swimmers out of the ocean

A Duxbury Beach shark sighting on Mon., Aug. 25, 2014 forced 1,000 swimmers out of the water and off the beach for nearly two hours for their own safety. The shark in question turned out to be a great white (Carcharodon carcharias), measuring approximately 15 feet in length from nose to tail, Massachusetts Marine Fisheries confirmed. The great white shark is also known as the white pointer, white shark or white death. They can live to be 70 years old and grow to more than 21 feet.

Duxbury beach shark stuns beach goers. Image: Shark Dive Xtreme Experience, at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The scurry to evacuate the water and nearby beach began when a Massachusetts State Police helicopter spotted the predator swimming approximately 150 yards from the shoreline at 2 p.m., according to a CNN report. State Police notified the Duxbury Police and the Duxbury harbormaster of the rare shark sighting. The Massachusetts State Police helicopter continued to monitor the shark at Duxbury Beach from the air as boats from the U.S. Coast Guard, Duxbury harbormaster, Plymouth harbormaster and Marshfield harbormaster surveyed the area from the water in search of more sharks.

"It is rather infrequent for us to see a shark within 75 yards in that area, State Trooper Dustin Fitch told CNN. Duxbury's assistant harbormaster Steve Cameron agreed that the Duxbury Beach shark sighting was an unusual occurrence. He said that sharks typically swim in the outer cape, not the inside. The great white did not enter Duxbury Bay.

Fortunately, no one reported any injuries associated with the Duxbury shark sighting. The beach was reopened to the public at 3:45 p.m. on Monday once the great white swam away into deeper waters southeast of the beach. Thanks to the incident, the Town of Duxbury has increased its shark watch, and the harbormaster said swimmers should use caution and enter the water at their own risk, reported CBS.

In a statement, Duxbury Harbormaster Coastal Natural Resources Department wrote, "We are advising that if beach patrons wish to swim, they may do so at their own risk with the understanding that if they choose to enter the water, they should do so cautiously and avoid going into the water beyond waist depth." There has not been another sighting of the Duxbury Beach shark since the initial incident.

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