Australian beachgoers were disrupted this week with the presence of a thrashing, four-meter-long great white shark making its way ashore on Coronation Beach, in the western city of Geraldton. Experts say the shark appears to have choked on a large sea lion and found itself ashore in the final minutes of its life.
According to Australia’s ABC, bystanders described the scene as “surreal” as the massive shark thrashed over the waters on the beach. The incident caused much alarm, as the great white shark was tagged by environmental authorities. An investigation began immediately, as the presence of these sharks on the shore is unusual and could indicate disease or ecological damage pushing them ashore.
Investigators determined, however, that this was unlikely. The shark’s carcass had a large Australian sea lion lodged in its throat, which investigators believe could have prevented the shark from breathing. The shark, attempting to dislodge the food, may have thrashed itself onto the shore. The also also had “no visible signs of injury or disease,” according to the report.
“Such a large object may have damaged the shark’s internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death,” explained research scientist Dr. Rory McAuley.
The Daily Mail has released footage of the shark’s arrival on shore, taken by beachgoer Tash Tapper. Tapper noted that she believed the shark was coming ashore to die.
Video of the massive shark making its way ashore below: