Shark causes beach closure on Gran Canaria

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The Playa de Melenara on Gran Canaria’s east coast remains closed to swimmers after a shark sighting on Saturday.

Local Telde police and the company Proactiva, which provides surveillance and rescue services on the beach, deployed a unit of drones this morning to scour the area in search of the shark.

The shark was reported by lifeguards on Saturday afternoon around 5.00 pm. This led to the immediate closure of the beach and the deployment of a search operation with jet skis. Unfortunately, this search yielded no results.

Drones as a search tool

According to a spokesperson for the local Telde police, the beach will remain closed until the drones have searched the area and there is more clarity about the shark’s presence. The aim is to ensure the safety of beachgoers before the beach is reopened.

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Several beachgoers filmed and shared images of the it. According to experts, it appears to be a hammerhead shark. The sea creature, contrary to its normal behaviour, swam close to the shore. These videos caused surprise and sometimes fear and panic among bathers.

The use of drones is an innovative step in the search for the shark. With this, the authorities hope to quickly gain clarity about its whereabouts. And, moreover, to guarantee the safety of beach visitors. Until then, Playa de Melenara remains closed to swimmers.

Hammerhead shark

The presence of sharks around the Canary Islands is normal. The great hammerhead shark, the largest member of its family, can grow up to six metres in length. It is a striking appearance with its wide, almost straight ‘hammer’ or head. Hammerheads are solitary and powerful swimmers that roam both shallow waters along the coast and at greater depths in the oceans. Their diet consists mainly of rays and small fish, but they may also attack and eat other sharks. The broad head helps them detect prey animals that are often hidden under the sand. Although attacks on humans are extremely rare, they rarely come this close to shore, usually only when they are weak or sick.

For diving enthusiasts, the Canary Islands offer some of the best places in the world to dive with sharks, including hammerhead sharks. El Hierro, for example, is known for its rich marine life and the opportunity to observe different species while diving.

Also read: Hammerhead shark spotted near the coast of Galicia

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