Lifeguard Saves Shark: Zach Cooney Drags Shark Away From Cocoa Beach, Back Into Ocean (VIDEO)

05/20/2013 12:26 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2013

Zach Cooney made quite the unusual rescue Sunday when he raced from his lifeguard post to wrestle with a shark, dragging it away from beachgoers in Florida.

In a video obtained by the Brevard Times, the Cocoa Beach lifeguard saves the shark from becoming beached, pulling it by its tail back into the ocean.

The 22-year-old, who handled animals in a previous job at Gatorland, explained to WFTV that the shark was likely disoriented from the "number of boats in the water, as well as the large crowd that was around him."

"I was just trying to get him out to where he'd feel a little more comfortable," Cooney told the local ABC affiliate.

As News 13 notes, the 5-foot shark washed ashore near the Cocoa Beach Pier, and witnesses said the marine animal was spotted near children. Fortunately, Cooney was on duty to make the save.

"The lifeguard that moved the shark is certified to handle alligators, so he was the obvious choice to safely mitigate the situation," Brevard County Fire Rescue spokesman Donald Slayman told the Brevard Times.

While stories of lifeguards saving sharks may be of the ordinary, they're not entirely unheard of. In 2007, a Coney Island lifeguard saved a shark from a mob of swimmers who were hitting it. The New York lifeguard had no previous experience handling sharks; however, the one he saved was about 2 feet long.

According to a recent report in the journal Marine Policy, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year.

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