‘Haven’t seen anything like it’: shock as great white shark washes up on NSW beach

A great white shark washed up on to a beach on the New South Wales north coast, shocking locals and attracting a crowd of beachgoers.

The 4m shark was seen swimming close to shore near Kingscliff beach on the Tweed Coast on Monday morning, with lifeguards tracking its progress until it was beached.

The female shark had been thrashing along the shore before washing up on the beach, with authorities attending soon after.

A veterinary team from Sea World on the Gold Coast went to the scene and found the shark struggling.

The shark was euthanised on the beach, and a bulldozer was brought in to safely move it off the sand.

“Sadly, the shark was in a poor condition after beaching and the Sea World veterinary team administered medications to make the shark comfortable while it was humanely euthanised,” a Sea World spokesperson said.

“The shark appeared to have underlying health issues, with the thrashing behaviour seen in the shallows prior to the beaching not typical for the species.”

There were “no unusual marks on the shark”, but the NSW Department of Fisheries would conduct a necropsy to try to identify a cause for the beaching, the spokesperson said.

While sharks have been spotted in the waters around Kingscliff beach, it was highly unusual to see one on the beach.

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The general manager at Cudgen Headland surf life saving club, Greg Swift, said he had never seen anything like it in his life.

“I noticed the shark, which was quite large, rolling around the surf directly in front of the club. It brought a great deal of commotion as it was in shallow water and you could see its fins sticking up,” he said.

“I haven’t seen anything like it in my 35 years at the club, and certainly nothing like this has happened in living memory. It was a shock.”

Swift said between 60 and 70 people surrounded the shark as it was beached, with many people stopping on their morning walks.

“It was in the middle of the beach, so lots of people stopped to watch and help if they could,” he said.

“It’s a majestic creature, it was very sad to see it that way.”

Local mortgage broker Suzy Martin saw the shark as she was having her morning coffee with her husband, and could barely believe her eyes.

“We thought it was dolphins at first, but as it got closer, we saw it was a shark. Our first reaction was honestly fear, but it became clear it wasn’t doing too well. It was thrashing about quite aggressively,” she said.

“It was a bit surreal to be honest. It was massive, and it was shocking to see it that way.”

The shark’s remains were taken to Coffs Harbour for the necropsy.