Cape Town - A 3-metre-long Great White Shark died in Santa Cruz on the Northern Californian coastline over the weekend after it struggled for hours to swim back to deep waters.
ALSO SEE: Mass dolphin stranding in Algoa Bay remains a mystery - SANParks
The shark became trapped on a sandbank on Friday, 7 April, where it thrashed in the shallows as a crowd formed and people posed for pictures, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
Footage shot by Mark Shwartz shows the horror ordeal - the animal struggling to breathe as it tries to get back to deeper water.
But, as the shark flips around in the surf, a man can be seen getting within metres from the apex predator, crouching down to snap a close-up photograph. He even stretches out his hand towards to animal, presumably to show just how close he actually gets to the shark.
Check it out -
ALSO SEE: What could have caused this deadly bloat of a Great White off Gansbaai?
It is unclear why the shark strayed into shallow water.
The Great White shark washed ashore the next day and was removed from the beach by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.
With the final removal of the apex predator, crowds gathered again following the truck in an attempt to get a final glimpse of the enormous shark.
Take a look -
According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife's executive director Sean Van Sommeran, the foundation did try to assist the shark, but it appeared to be ill.
“Something was wrong with the shark,” Van Sommeran told Santa Cruz Sentinel. The shark lost energy after hours spent flailing ashore and in shallow water. “It was upside down as we tried to get it to deeper water. A healthy shark wouldn’t do that.”
The initial video from Shwartz is also labels the shark as 'infected', suggesting that the animal might have beached due to health reasons.
Lab tests will determine whether a condition caused the animal’s detour and, ultimately, its death.
According to Van Sommeran, Great White sharks do not enjoy as much sympathy and aid from members of the public. He says other marine animals get far greater assistance when stranded or beached, because they're more dangerous than other marine animals.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- PICS: Great White shark photobombs 10-year-old Aussie surfer
- Mass dolphin stranding in Algoa Bay remains a mystery - SANParks
- WATCH: Beach-goers rally together to save beached Great White off Cape Cod