Swimmers 'Scramble' as Hammerhead Shark Appears at Florida Beach

A hammerhead shark sparked moments of panic for beachgoers in Destin, in the Florida panhandle, on August 5, as it swam close to the shore, eyewitnesses said.

Chris Cate, who shot this footage of the shark swimming only a few feet from the shore, told Storyful he was in the water when the shark was first spotted. Cate tweeted that the shark was 10 to 12 feet long, and had swum by him and others without them noticing it. He said the beachgoers “scrambled out” of the water when they heard someone screaming the word “shark.”

Jon Bell and his family were also visiting the beach. Bell told Storyful that from the fifth floor of a beachfront building he spotted what he thought was a dolphin but realized it was a shark as it came closer to shore.

“No one was aware, so we started to yell ‘shark,’ and people started to get out,” Bell told Storyful. “Finally the lifeguard on duty spotted it and started blowing the whistle for people to get out.” Bell said the shark was “massive” and swam back and forth for about 20 minutes before it went back out to sea.

According to the International Shark Attack File, there have only been 17 documented cases of hammerhead sharks attacking humans without provocation since the year 1580, and no human has ever been killed by a hammerhead. Credit: Chris Cate via Storyful