Beach-goers playing in the surf off Australia's popular Sunshine Coast region became alarmed when an unwanted visitor crashed the party last week.
Sirens sounded a shark warning at Bulcock Beach, north of Brisbane in Queensland, as a six-foot-long dusky whaler shark was spotted very close to swimmers in shallow water, reports Microsoft-owned Australian news outlet 9News.
Dusky sharks, also known as bronze or black whalers, are long-distance swimmers, according to National Geographic. While not one of the world's four most dangerous sharks, it has an incredibly powerful bite.
As seen in the video above, captured by a local news crew, the shark at Bulcock Beach appeared to be attempting to come ashore. Two men in the video approached the shark as it swims mere feet from the breakers.
Astonished bathers watched while Welsh tourist Paul Marshallsea and another man grabbed hold of the shark’s tail and attempted to nudge it out to sea, reports Wales Online. Marshallsea, a 62-year-old grandfather, suddenly found himself on the defensive as the shark lunged at him. Its babies had been swimming nearby, and it felt threatened by the sudden presence of the men.
"Babies were swimming through my legs," Marshallsea told Wales Online. "A shark that one minute ago was so docile now just nearly took my leg off in a split second – it was that quick.”
Still, Marshallsea said helping the dangerous but beautiful creature was the right decision.
“People might say it was a stupid thing to do but when you see a beautiful beast struggling to survive up close and personal you somehow tend to respect it and want to help it," he said, per Wales Online.
Australian lifeguard Luke Turner told Sky News he and a colleague had been watching the shark wander closer and closer to swimmers all morning.
"We chased it away and called in the helicopter for back-up. Then a few hours passed and it happened to come back in," Turner said, according to a story posted by The Huffington Post UK.
In the video (above), a man identified as Terry Doyle, a conservationist, speculated that the shark must have been sick to be so close to land.
After several shark sightings this season, swimmers off the coastal region have been warned to take extra care, as the beaches there are not protected by shark nets, according to Yahoo News.
National Geographic reports that while these types of sharks can live for up to 50 years, they are slow to reach sexual maturity and therefore easily threatened by outside forces.
The species are currently at only 15 to 20 percent of their mid-1970s population levels, and many are caught each year in the controversial shark fin soup trade.