Great white shark washes up on Aussie beach in morning 'tragedy'

Investigations have begun to find out what happened to the shark spotted struggling in the water before it passed.

A shark in the water would cause most beachgoers to jump a mile, but when a massive great white shark washed up at a popular Aussie surfing spot on Monday, dozens were drawn in to have a closer look.

Photos and video of people awed by the creature at Kingscliff beach on the NSW Far North Coast have surfaced on social media with one even showing a woman touching its lifeless body.

Earlier on Monday, sightings of the four-metre giant struggling in shallow waters at the beach had prompted concern for its welfare, with one person calling its plight a “tragedy”. “So hard to watch,” another added. “Poor thing,” someone else remarked.

A crowd of people standing on the beach looking at a great white shark washed up on Kingscliff Beach on Monday morning.
People flocked to Kingscliff beach to see the great white shark washed on Monday morning. Source: Facebook

Sea World workers make shark 'comfortable'

By the time the shark was washed onto the sand little could be done for it, Sea World told Yahoo News. A team of its experts drove over the border from the Gold Coast after receiving a call at 8am (NSW time) and administered drugs to keep the shark “comfortable” as it passed away.

Video shows the shark being hauled off the beach by heavy equipment, so it could be transferred to a NSW Department of Fisheries facility for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Close-up photo of a great white washed up in the shallows of Kingscliff beach.
The great white was seen struggling in the water before it sadly died at Kingscliff beach. Source: Facebook

With the mercury rising into the high 20s at Kingscliff in the morning, the beach was already crowded with school kids and workers hoping for an early morning dip before their days began.

Earlier reports the female shark was pregnant were incorrect, and were likely the result of onlookers making assumptions because of its size.

Left: A woman touches the great white shark at the beach. Right: A digger moves the shark off the beach.
A woman bids farewell to the shark before it is carried away for a necropsy. Source: Tiktok

Rare shark encounter sparks awe

Reflecting on the large crowds the shark drew, Humane Society International marine biologist Lawrence Chlebeck said it's not often the public gets to see a great white up close.

“They're not a shark that has ever done well in captivity. So usually the only space that these animals occupy in our brains is what we see in the news about a bite, or perhaps a documentary showing them leaping out of the water for a seal, or even worse in film,” he told Yahoo.

“It makes sense that people are fascinated to see something like this, it's definitely not something we see every day.”

While many people are frightened by great whites, Chlebeck believes it's important to remember the “critical role” the species plays in marine ecosystems.

“I’m hoping the interest in this individual was born out of fascination more than fear, and the more that we learn about these animals, the more we understand how important it is to protect them,” he said.

The NSW Department Of Primary Industries was contacted for comment by Yahoo News.

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