A 10-foot shark beached itself in the shallows off the coast of Santa Cruz, California, where some brave souls tried to pull it back into deeper water without success.
Local NBC affiliate KSBW identified the animal as a great white shark, though some observers disputed that claim. The giant fish seemed confused about its location as it thrashed close to shore in rough surf on Friday evening, at one point rolling over on its back.
High waves were likely hurting the animal’s chances of heading back to sea, Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
When rescuers hauled it back into deeper water — twice — it ended up beaching itself again.
“We were able to get the shark uprighted and in the water. It just kind of turned around. It was aimless,” Van Sommeran told KSBW.
Would-be rescuers believe the shark was sick or injured, and that it likely didn’t survive. It appeared again, battered and bloodied by the waves, before vanishing.
At one point, as many as 50 bystanders gathered to see the shark — and some took photos of it until police arrived with a bullhorn to warn them away.
Wildlife officials will attempt to recover a carcass for examination if it washes ashore.