Recently, beachgoers at a Hilton Head Island beach in South Carolina caught sight of something almost too wild to be true. Swimmers were enjoying a beautiful day of relaxation at Forest Beach over Labor Day weekend when a couple of blacktip sharks decided to join the fun.
And, according to one beachgoer, Jill Horner, all was calm at the popular vacation destination for much of the day. Until the beach lifeguards sounded their whistles.
“Quite honestly, I was just nappin’ on the beach with my daughter who has come down here to visit,” Horner recalls.
“We heard the whistles,” she continues. Horner remembers how the lifeguards were telling swimmers to “get out of the water because of the shark.”
Now, Horner had long been hoping to catch sight of one of these impressive ocean-dwellers in the “wild” during her visit to the beach. So, she immediately thought to grab her phone and record the exciting moment to share with her family.
The Blacktip Sharks Are One Of 12 Types Found In The Hilton Head Area
Another swimmer had the same idea and she uploaded this video to her Facebook page. Sharing the shocking moment as the blacktip sharks came unusually close to the shore. But, this proximity to the beachgoers didn’t seem to bother the sharks as they went about their regular activities.
“A first for us to see one this close to shore,” the post says of the jaw-dropping footage.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources notes that the blacktip shark is one of around 12 shark species that can be found in South Carolina waters. However, these sharks are usually fairly wary of humans. And they tend to avoid the swimmers at the area beaches as much as possible. The blacktip shark can reach as many as 150 pounds.
These blacktips, however, didn’t seem to mind the human beachgoers as they enjoyed swimming in the water just feet from shore. After swimmers were cleared from the water, a helicopter monitored the situation from above.
“The thing that probably struck me most was how shallow the water was and how close they came,” Horner says of the unusual sight.
Area officials estimate the unexpected visitors to be over 6 feet long. The sharks have been identified by lifeguards as being of the blacktip species. However, some have wondered on social media if the sharks in question were of a different species…the lemon shark. A few others also mentioned that the swimming animals look similar to the sand tiger shark as well.