A blue shark has been spotted swimming within meters of the shoreline on a country estate in Cornwall – the same type that is suspected of biting a snorkeler late last month.
The victim sustained a leg injury when they were attacked in a rare case off the Cornish coast near Penzance, understood to be the first of its kind in 175 years.
Despite what happened, the Wildlife Trust stress a blue shark attack is not going to happen to an ordinary person enjoying the coast.
Today, a man filmed the creature which swam to the water’s edge on the River Fal on the National Trust’s Trelissick estate near Truro.
Harry Gooby was walking his dog when some swimmers warned him about the shark as they decided against going back into the River Fal for a dip.
Now there are concerns that the shark – which appears to be around six foot long – may be in distress and vets will keep an eye on it.
The local resident said: “I was waiting less than a minute when a shark swam very close to the shore and at one point put his snout up onto the beach.
“His whole head came out of the water and almost nuzzled the underneath of its neck on the beach.”
He said it was high tide and the shark appeared to be trying to beach itself.
Marine experts said it is an unusual incident as blue sharks tend to be seen off shore in deeper water but stress they are not a threat to the public – even though a woman snorkeler was bitten by one off the Cornish coast earlier this month.
Dan Jarvis, of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “They are not known as an aggressive species or anything like that.
“Give it some space and there is no need for anybody to get too close to it or interfere with it.”
Volunteer medics are at the scene and they will intervene if it becomes stranded and will also assess it health-wise.
Speaking to BBC Radio Cornwall on August 3, Marine officer Matt Slater said the attack was unusual as people are highly unlikely to “encounter a blue shark just by accident around the Cornish coast”.
He added: “This is something that nobody really expected, and a very, very rare and quite a sad story really, because it obviously tarnishes the reputation of an amazing animal.”
The marine biologist went on to explain that attacks are rare because, as happened in this incident, blue sharks have to be attracted to people using bait: “You have to go a long way off shore and you have to create a very long oil slick of sardine blood and juice, and eventually the sharks will follow that to you.”
He continued: “Obviously in the headlines it’s, ‘shark attack in Cornwall’, but actually it’s not going to happen to an ordinary person surfing, swimming, or diving around our coast – it’s really nothing for people to be afraid of.”
Swimming with sharks in Cornwall is available to people with previous snorkelling experience.
Shark expert Wayne Comben, who has spent over 20 years shark fishing and has caught and released ‘hundreds’ of blue sharks, said he wasn’t surprised by the incident.
Mr Comben, 55 from from Havant, Hampshire, said: “You would have to be very unlucky to get bitten by a blue shark close to shore.
“They are quite benign and don’t seek people out. But over the last few years, a few charter boats have offered a ‘come and swim with blue sharks’ experience and taken people to about 100ft of water. In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before someone got bitten by a blue shark.
“I have been saying that for five years. A blue shark has got razor sharp teeth designed for slicing through fish flesh.
“I have seen a 100lbs shark cut a 30lbs shark in half with one bite before.
“They could quite easily slice through a wetsuit and into human flesh very easily.”