Hammerhead Shark Video at Island Beach the Latest in a String of Sightings [VIDEO]
A New Jersey man's video of a hammerhead shark filmed at Island Beach State Park has swimmers scared to go in the water and officials reminding folks that it's not uncommon to see sharks in the ocean.
Local cinematographer gets a lucky shot
Local cinematographer Mike Ragone says he was in the right place at the right time on Aug. 2 to catch some incredible footage of a hammerhead shark in the waters at Island Beach State Park.
"It's a one in a million shot," Ragone says. The NJ-native says his girlfriend and himself were watching the black fin emerge from the waters when he, "kinda lost it" with the camera. "And that's when my girlfriend goes 'Oh my god' and I whip-panned the camera."
Ragone jokes that they were in the water 15 minutes prior to the hammerhead shark sighting.
"You can't pay me enough money to go into the water right now," he says.
When asked to estimate the shark's size Ragone says, "I'm not big on Marine biology or anything like that but that was a big sucker." He guesses the hammerhead was like 4 to 5 feet.
Lifeguards report shark activity
Nearby lifeguards confirm the recent shark activity off the Jersey Shore beaches.
"The most common shark we'll see around here is a brown shark," Normandy Shores lifeguard RJ Hager says. He adds that they also see threshers and nurse sharks.
Hager's fellow lifeguard Ian Clark says the other day he took the paddle board out a couple hundred feet off shore and encountered a 7-foot sand tiger shark near the sandbar.
"They're commonly out there," Hager says, "Just lookin' for food." Hager explains that the sharks are usually following large schools of fish and that they won't usually come in as close as the swimmers are.
The hammerhead shark footage first publicized by Jersey Shore Hurricane News' Facebook page is the latest in a sting of Jersey Shore shark sightings.
Last week, media coverage of a NJ kayaker reeling in a 6-foot shark off Ocean City and recent footage of a shark feeding frenzy off Island Beach State Park had beach goers carefully watching the waters.
"Sharks live in the ocean, and you could occasionally see a shark in the ocean near the beach," says Larry Ragonese, of the NJ's Dept. of Environmental Protection. He adds that there have been no unusual occurrences at Island Beach State Park or in the numbers of sharks in the area.
"Seeing a shark, swimming in the waters off of Island Beach in the Atlantic Ocean would not be unusual," Ragonese says. "This is the ocean, it's where these creatures live."
WATCH RAGONE'S VIDEO OF HAMMERHEAD SHARK AT ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK