- Locals and tourists fled shallows at Praia Beach in Espinho after shark appeared
Tourists and locals scrambled to flee the water after a shark appeared in the shallows off a popular Portuguese beach.
There has been a steep increase in sightings of blue sharks off Spanish beaches this year, with one sparking panic at Aguamarina beach on the Costa Blanca in June and two spotted near the Costa Brava beach of Portbou on Sunday.
Yesterday, it was the turn of locals and holidaymakers at Praia Beach in the Atlantic resort city of Espinho to clear the sea as the same species of shark neared the sand.
Children were seen gathering near the shoreline and shouting ‘shark’ as lifeguards observed the creature and a brave sun-seeker turned his back on it and walked slowly in knee-deep water towards the beach.
The threatening beast eventually disappeared after it swam back out into deeper water.
Beachgoers are understood to have been allowed to take a dip to cool off once it had left the area.
Espinho, a city in the north of Portugal close to Porto which forms part of the Aveiro district, is known for fishing and for its beaches.
Praia de Espinho beach is considered the finest beach in the area.
Brits who have spent time there give it fantastic reviews online, with one describing it as ‘great with a fantastic sunset.’
Five sharks came close to the shoreline in different parts of Spain within a period of just 10 days in June.
The first episode occurred on June 15 when bathers were filmed leaving the water in a hurry at Aguamarina beach in Orihuela south of Alicante.
The same day it emerged the same species of shark had been spotted inside Ciutadella Port in Menorca.
Another was filmed at a small cove in Ibiza called Calo des Moltons on June 24.
On Sunday beachgoers were left distressed after two blue sharks were seen lurking right by them off the coast of Portbou in the Catalan border province of Girona.
While some beach-goers made it to shore, others took refuge on a platform in the sea and had to be taken back to dry land by heroic kayakers.
Following the incident, Portbou mayor Gael Rodrigues issued a message of reassurance saying: ‘Portbou beach is completely safe.’
He added blue sharks are often spotted off beaches in the municipality because they are native to the area.
Despite the panic surrounding the latest sightings, no one was reported injured.
He added that blue sharks are often spotted off beaches in the municipality because they are native to the area.
READ MORE: Shark is spotted in shallow waters in Spain less than a week after another sparked panic on Costa Blanca beach
The incident is not the first shark sighting off the Catalan coast this year. On June 23, bathing was prohibited off three beaches in Alcanar due to the presence of two blue sharks.
The blue shark can grow up to 13 feet long and can weigh up to 450 lb. The species is listed as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
One social media user commented on the footage: ‘We shouldn’t fear these creatures. And they often have more fear of us than we have of them! We are in their home.’
It comes after British holiday-makers were enjoying a relaxing day on a Malaga beach, soaking up the sun, when a shark was spotted through the waves.
The shark’s presence, just off the coast of resort town Torremolinos, caused the British holiday-goers to flee out of the water and back to safety on the shore.
Dozens lined the beaches, peering out over the water to spot the shark’s dorsal fin protruding from the waves.
Emily McEwan, took to social media after her holiday was interrupted by the panic over the shark.
She told The Sun: ‘It was a little bit of a surprise because we’ve all seen films like Jaws but you never really expect yourself to be in the sea when you see that fin.’
She said the sighting happened on the morning of June 27. She had been on a family holiday after just giving birth to a baby boy.
The shark was seen off the beach’s coast for about half an hour before a lifeguard encouraged it to swim back out to sea.
The new mother said she tried to find out which species it was, but was still non-the-wiser.
She posted the video of the sighting on social media, captioning the clip: ‘Off to the beach for what was meant to be a nice relaxing day.’
A previous sighting was seen off a dock on the island of Arousa in the Galician province of Pontevedra, home to spectacular white sandy beaches and small coves which are popular with tourists and locals.
This was also a blue shark seen in this sighting, which rarely bite humans but have been implicated in fatal attacks in the past.
Footage showed the shark’s tell-tale fin appearing above the water line as it approached a fisherman’s boat. The clear, shallow water made it very easy to see.
Local fisherman Rogelio Santos Queiruga insisted the tintorera, which appeared to be injured from a harpoon, faced greater danger than humans.
He admitted: ‘If we try to touch it, it can hurt us with its teeth or rough skin.’
But he added, insisting these types of sharks are not great white sharks or tiger sharks which can be very aggressive: ‘The fact they are seen close to the coast is good news.
‘It is a sign that on the high seas, where they usually live, they may be recovering following decades of overfishing.’
The shark seen in the province of Pontevedra has been described as measuring around five feet and was thought to be not yet fully-grown.
Fishermen filmed it swimming in the shallow water because its presence so close to the shoreline is rare.
The water temperature in the area was around 20 degrees Celsius, which is higher than normal.
Earlier in June, a fully grown blue shark measuring some seven feet caused panic off the Costa Blanca beach of Aguamarina in Orihuela Costa, south of Alicante.
Bathers were filmed trying to run to safety through waist-high water as it neared the shoreline.
Lifeguards blew on their whistles to warn locals and holidaymakers and urge them to get out of the sea as quickly as possible.
One woman, thought to have been an elderly person seen being helped out of the water by Good Samaritans, is said to have suffered a panic attack after realising the shark was beside her.
It washed up dead the following day by rocks at La Caleta Beach in Cabo Roig a couple of miles away.
The same day it emerged that species of shark had been spotted inside Ciutadella Port in Menorca.
A cow shark also approached a boat belonging to a group of fishermen in early July, off Cap de Formentor near Puerto Pollensa in Majorca.
The men turned the boat engine off to avoid hurting it.
Blue sharks rarely bite humans but have been implicated in several biting incidents, four of which are said to have ended fatally.
A blue shark was blamed for an attack on a holidaymaker in Elche near Alicante in July 2016.
The 40-year-old victim was rushed to hospital and given stitches to a wound in his hand.
First aiders described the bite as ‘large’ and said he had come out of the sea with blood streaming from the injury.
In August 2018 tourists fled the sea in panic after a blue shark, among the most common in Spain, appeared off the packed Majorcan beach of Calas de Majorca on the island’s east coast.
In April a near seven-foot shark also believed to be a tintorera was filmed in the surf on the south-east coast of Majorca at a nearby beach called Cala Llombards.
The footage showed it was obviously disorientated.
A Spanish woman watched it as its fin appeared above the water’s surface and it headed towards the shoreline in the clear water before nearly beaching on the sand.
She could be overheard saying as it was knocked on its side in the swallow water and thrashed its tail around in a bid to get back out to sea: ‘This one is going to end up getting stuck here.
‘We have to get it out of the water, it’s going to stay where it is.’
Its efforts eventually paid off and it was filmed swimming back out to deeper water before disappearing.
Last month, Russian tourist Vladimir Popov, 23, was filmed being attacked by a tiger shark and dragged underwater off the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
His body parts were later recovered from inside the predator’s belly after it was clubbed to death by beachgoers.
Biologist Juan Antonio Pujol told a Spanish paper after it emerged the blue shark seen off Aguamarina beach last Thursday had been found dead at a nearby beach: ‘Coming across something like this when you’re swimming in the water makes an impression but you should stay calm because they’re not aggressive.’