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Couple Spends Half Hour Rescuing Shark on N. Oregon Coast, Possibly Worked - Video

Published 09/15/23 at 6:27 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Couple Spends Half Hour Trying to Rescue Shark on N. Oregon Coast, Possibly Worked - Video

(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – A simple day at the beach; in this case, Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast. The sun is shining and the waves are lilting as always, and maybe there's a shark that needs rescuing. (Video and photo courtesy Nicole Lattanzi Wood)

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Wait, what?

Just that situation popped up for Nicole Lattanzi Wood, who sitting at the couple's condo on Tuesday when she and her husband spotted a shark flopping around on the edges of the tideline. Thus started a wacky little adventure, one that wildlife experts and Oregon officials don't really recommend, but the video made a lot of people happy.

Wood decided to help out the little shark, which was likely a juvenile. In the video, she's heard trying to talk to the shark and be reassuring, something that unfortunately a shark won't recognize.

Posted by Nicole Lattanzi Wood on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Using a stick, she started rolling the shark over and over, slowly edging it back into the tide. That, surprisingly, took a whole half hour, Wood told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

What appears to be a salmon shark (they're often mistaken for great whites), was bloodied at the mouth. Clearly it was severely injured, which is usually why they wind up stranding onshore.

Once it was back in the waves, Wood could no longer see it.

“We stayed on the beach and watched for a while to see if it would show up again but it didn't,” Wood told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “Checked the beach again in the morning too, didn't find anything. So hoping it made it.”

Marine experts don't advise doing what Wood did, and in spite of what some suggested on her post on the Life on the Oregon Coast group, the last thing you want to do is grab it by the tail to throw it back.

“Your chances of getting bitten are much greater if you pick it up than if you leave it alone,” said Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium.

Did it help by throwing it back in the sea? Chandler said likely not.

“If it's on the beach it's probably going to die anyway,” he said. Then he added with a wry sense of humor: “Better thing to do is leave it 'cause the seagulls need to eat.”

Wood admits they wrestled with the idea of calling first, but couldn't find the numbers right away.

“We worried it would die before anyone could get to us,” she said. “So we did what we thought was right at the time.”

Chandler admits they would not have gotten down there in time before the creature died.

The important parts of this incident are that when it comes to sharks stranded on the beach, there are no laws are hardfast rules. However, mammals – like whales or seals – are an entirely different matter. You don't touch them or try to rescue them. There are laws regarding that – and even very firm laws when it comes to whale carcasses. Taking anything from a whale carcass can wind up a federal crime.

Salmon sharks are common along the west coasts of the Americas, and sometimes caught or injured in fishing gear at sea. That could well be what happened with this one and its bloody mouth. MORE VIDEO BELOW

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Posted by Nicole Lattanzi Wood on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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