It's not every day you get to witness the cycle of life and death simultaneously while out for a casual stroll on the beach.
Beth and Lindsey Cordell were walking along the Georgia coast when they found a dead beached shark with a hook stuck in it, according to Barcroft Media. As a crowd gathered around them, the couple attempted to remove the hook. "We didn't want anyone passing by to get hurt on it," Lindsey Cordell said.
That's when they noticed something moving inside the blacktip shark's belly.
As seen in the footage below, which was originally uploaded to YouTube in May and filmed by the Cordell's 13-year-old son, a man volunteered to help and began performing an impromptu C-section on the pregnant blacktip, giving her unborn shark pups a second chance at life.
The man knifed open the dead shark, revealing three live babies wiggling inside. After carving a long v-shaped incision in the mother's underbelly, the man nervously reached for the squirming pups and threw them one by one into the ocean.
"I've never experienced anything like this before," Lyndsey Cordell said, per Barcroft. "It was definitely a crazy experience."WARNING: Footage is graphic.
The original video is no longer available on YouTube. The one above a clip from the footage.
The Cordells did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment, and it's unclear if the newborns successfully swam away after being tossed back into the water.
Kim Holland, lead researcher for the University of Hawaii's HIMB Shark Research Group, told The Huffington Post that their chance at survival depends on how close their mother was to full term.
A similar incident occurred earlier this year, when a group of Florida fishermen caught a pregnant 12-foot hammerhead shark that had an apparent bite mark in its stomach, with the tail of a hammerhead pup poking out. The fishermen ended up delivering 20 pups from the mother and returning them to the sea.
Some sharks, according to Holland's research, are capable of inducing birth "at the last second" when they sense they are in extreme danger or are nearing mortality, in order to give their pups a better chance at survival.
At this point, we can only hope there are three more sharks in the sea who can thank a quick-thinking, knife-wielding man for their lives.
H/T The Inertia
UPDATED: This story has been updated with new information from Barcroft Media.