AMAZED onlookers were shocked today when an injured shark — thought to be a Great White — washed up on a popular Manly beach.
The animal washed up at South Steyne mid morning and was taken to nearby Fairy Bower pool.
Lifeguards on jet skis kept watch over the marine animal before marine rescue arrived to bring it to shore using a stretcher.
Rob Townsend, life sciences manager at Manly Sealife Sanctuary, was in charge at the scene, along with six members of staff.
“We got a call that a shark, which we originally thought was a mako, was washed up on the beach, so we sent some people to have a look,” Mr Townsend said.
“The immediate course of action was to see if it was strong enough to swim away. A couple of attempts were made to put it back in the ocean but it kept washing up on the beach. Apparently it washed up four or five times.
“Given the proximity of the pool we though it was a good place to leave it in the interim while we work out what to do.
“Obviously a shark of this size and species, it’s not something we can immediately deal with without a bit of preparation time, to see what we’re dealing with.
“Having put it in the pool, we’ve realised it’s not a mako, it’s a juvenile white shark, so being a threatened species there’s a whole lot more bureaucracy and paperwork to make sure we’re doing everything by the book.”
By the afternoon, around 200 onlookers had gathered at the scene and daredevil spectators were seen brazenly jumping in to the pool for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with the ocean predator.
The shark did not display any signs of aggression and was gliding back and forth in the water, occasionally bumping in to the wall.
Spectator Kyle Goodman from Seaforth, who has just got back from the Bahamas where he was doing shark research, said the sight wasn’t too peculiar for him — but was “extremely peculiar” for the northern beaches.
“I got a text from my sister and I cried bulls*t, but I had to come down and check she was right.
“This is the only shark, apart from a whaler or a Port Jackson or a wobbegong I’ve seen in this area and I’ve been diving here for three years.”