Video: Bystanders Rescue Thrashing 10-Foot Mako Shark on Popular Beach
After authorities said there was nothing that could be done about a beached—yet very much alive—mako shark in Pensacola Beach, FL, four bystanders took matters into their own hands. And the thrilling scene was all caught on video.
In a Sept. 14 Facebook post, a woman named Tina Fey (no relation to the actor) uploaded a video and several photos of the shark encounter, which occurred while she was on an anniversary trip.
“Just so everyone knows, we were NOT fishing!!” Fey wrote. “It just showed up while we were swimming, [and] happened to beach itself right in front of us. We took action to get him back in the water since the wildlife people and lifeguards told us there was not they could do! So we did our best to try to save him!”
As the footage subsequently made its way around the internet, it was shared by Florida meteorologist Matt Devitt on the platform formerly known as Twitter, where it has since been viewed nearly 5 million times. As you can see in the below video, the rescue was not for the faint of heart, as the shark thrashed violently and gnashed its teeth while the men worked to save it.
Eventually, they were able to drag the shark just deep enough back into the water that it was able to right itself and swim away on its own. “Thankfully beachgoers got this big fella back into the Gulf,” Devitt wrote. “Well done guys!”
WOW! Check out this Mako shark stranded along the shore this week in Pensacola Beach, Florida. Thankfully beachgoers got this big fella back into the Gulf, well done guys! ? Credit: Tina Fey pic.twitter.com/m8oFKzDCt2
— Matt Devitt (@MattDevittWINK) September 15, 2023
Later speaking with WKRG Channel 5 News, Fey’s husband Josh explained what happened in detail.
“We were sitting on the beach just having a good time and my buddy just said, ‘Look out in the water there, man,'” he recalled. “I see that fin and I was like, yeah, it was two or three sandbars away from us. Eventually it just turned to the left and started coming directly beeline toward the shoreline, and I said , ‘That’s a big shark coming in.’ And we thought it was chasing some bait or whatnot, but it came all the way to shoreline and beached itself.”
Despite the enormous size of the shark, which has been estimated to be about 10 feet long with two-inch teeth, the couple knew that they had to act fast.
“It was just thrashing all around and I said, ‘We got to get her back in the water because she’s gonna die; something’s wrong… She’s sick,” Fey continued. “She might’ve got caught by somebody offshore.'”
Thanking the others who helped move the shark, Josh admitted that if it hadn’t been for them, he wouldn’t have been able to move the animal on his own, which he says weighed “every bit of 500 to 600 pounds.”
“I couldn’t budge her. It took four of us to enter into the water,” he added. “I hope everybody else that comes to beaches and sees a distressed animal like that, you know, with sea turtles or anything like that, that they help them out.”