Rush to evacuate swimmers as shark spotted at popular Sydney beach

Despite the commotion and warnings, some swimmers ignored advice from lifeguards and chose to stay in the water.

Swimmers at a popular Sydney beach have been raced out of the water by lifeguards on jetskis after a bull shark was spotted in the area this morning.

A shark alarm sounded at Manly beach just before 8am on Thursday, sparking the panicked evacuation out of the water. It comes as thousands of surf competitors are expected to flock to the water over the next four days along the Manly stretch for the NSW Surf Life Saving titles.

Vision supplied to shows swimmers "piling" onto one jetski, with up to six people being quickly rushed back to shore.

Swimmers pile onto the back of a jetski at Manly Beach after a shark alarm was sounded.
Lifeguards used jetskis to escort swimmers to shore after a bull shark was spotted near Manly beach. Source: News Corp

Despite the commotion and warnings, some swimmers chose to ignore the advice and stayed in the water.

“After [the lifeguard] dropped them off he continued to warn the swimmers to go to shore, some people just kept swimming – the lifeguard was driving right next to them and yelling and whistling,” a witness told the publication.

“They didn’t realise he was there, he was probably a couple of feet away from them. There were still people just swimming."

According to Dorsal Shark Report, the shark was a bull shark that was originally tagged in May 2019 in the Whitsundays, though the length of the shark is not noted.

A shark fin can be seen on a map of Manly Beach, indicating the location of the tagged bull shark.
The bull shark shut down Manly beach just before 8am, delaying a championship event. Source: Dorsal Watch

Day two of the NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championship was meant to kick off at 8am, but was delayed by an hour due to the shark scare, Surf Life Saving NSW said on Facebook.

"Lifeguards at Manly Beach sounded the shark alarm and alerted swimmers and surfers to leave the water, including competitors warming up prior to a race start at 8am. Water safety jetskis and drones completed a thorough search with nothing found and racing commenced at 9am," they wrote.

Dr Daryl McPhee, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University on the Gold Coast, said the risk of a shark attack is "very low" despite bull sharks being one of the most aggressive species.

"Bull sharks are one of three species of sharks along with the tiger shark and white shark responsible for most fatal bites on humans and serious injuries," he told Yahoo News Australia. "However, the risk of a shark bite is very low and drowning while undertaking water-based activities is a much higher source of human fatalities."

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