Hammerhead Shark Closed Newport Beach for Two Miles

A hammerhead shark spotted by a tourist on a Newport Beach pier forced lifeguards to temporarily close the beach to surfers and swimmers out of an “abundance of caution.” Took / Pixabay

A hammerhead shark closed Newport Beach along a two-mile section of the Balboa Peninsula on October 19 after a tourist captured video footage of the shark swimming near one of the piers.

The tourist who took the video, Madison Newsom, showed it to lifeguards, which prompted officials to temporarily close the beach from 10th to 44th street.

When the shark was first spotted, Newsom reported that she heard other beach goers shouting “get out of the water.”

The shark was estimated to be about eight feet long and did not display any aggressive behavior.  There was no indication that it appeared to be swimming towards people.

The shark was first noticed about 11:00 a.m. and it only took 5 minutes for lifeguards to clear the water.  The shark was spotted again from the pier at about noon.  At 4:00 that afternoon, the beach was still closed and was expected to remain closed for the rest of the day.

Mike Halphide, the battalion chief for the Newport Beach lifeguards, said the beach was closed “out of an abundance of caution.”

Experts believe that this fall’s warm El Nino water is attracting more sharks, including hammerheads, along the coast of Southern California.

Cal State Long Beach marine biology professor Chris Lowe recently told the Huntington Beach Independent newspaper that, “You’ve got a whole tropical food chain that’s moved into our neighborhood.  That warm water is bringing that food up here, and that food is being followed by its predators.”




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