3 Sharks Spotted Just Feet Away From Florida’s Pensacola Beach

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
July 9, 2019 Updated: July 9, 2019

Three sharks were spotted on drone footage circling waters close to the shoreline of Pensacola Beach, Florida, on Independence Day.

The footage was captured just after sunrise on July 4 by Pensacola local Steve Luppert as the trio swam in close proximity to each other in the Gulf of Mexico.

Luppert told ABC33 that the sharks were swimming just feet from the shore for quite some time.

“They were out there for maybe 45 minutes.

“I would like to hope that I filmed a great white off Pensacola Beach. But, I don’t think that it was!”

He told The Epoch Times that given calm, clear water, he can just about guarantee seeing at least one shark—most likely blacktips.

“Sometimes I see dozens—over 100—in one flight.”

Despite the sightings, Dave Greenwood, Escambia County Water Safety Chief, told ABC33 that the chances of being attacked by a shark are extremely slim.

“You’re more likely to drown out here than get attacked by [a] shark,” he said.

Luppert said that the last shark attack he had heard of in the area was back in 2001. He has lived near Pensacola Beach for over 40 years.

According to a USA Today report, the likelihood of being attacked and killed by a shark in the United States is 3,748,067 to 1.

Last year saw a decrease in the number of shark attacks in the United States and around the world, according to a report released in January by the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

Compared to the average of 88 unprovoked shark attacks reported worldwide in 2017, last year saw just 66 reports, the research found.

Director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark research program, Gavin Naylor, said that the reduction in attacks in the United States could be that people are becoming more cautious of the presence of sharks in the ocean.

“Or it could be that the general public is heeding the advice of beach safety officials,” Naylor said in a statement.

“My hope is that the lower numbers are a consequence of people becoming more aware and accepting of the fact that they’re sharing the ocean with these animals.”

Last year, one individual was killed by a shark on Cape Cod, Massachusetts—the state’s first shark attack death in 82 years, reported USA Today. Florida had the highest number of shark attacks at 32 cases—down 21 from 2017.

“Blacktips used to amass in huge numbers along the coast of Florida, and there have been far fewer of them, particularly in the last two or three years,” Naylor added.

“What the public needs to do is become informed about these animals, understand their behavior patterns and listen to the guidelines issued by beach safety patrols.”

Luppert added that aside from sharks, he is constantly amazed by what the gulf has to offer.

“Turtles, manta and cow rays, and I never get tired of watching dolphins,” he said. “Last fall, I got lucky and filmed a manatee.”

13-Foot Hammerhead Shark Spotted Near Florida Beach

The sighting by the drone came just a week after Florida beachgoers spotted a 13-foot hammerhead shark swimming near the shore of busy Navarre Beach.

Images shared by the Navarre Beach Fire-Rescue’s Facebook page show the shark circling waters just a hundred feet away from the shore, reported the Daily Mail.

One photo shows the shark’s fin emerge from the ocean as a woman looks on from the beach.

There have been 17 reports of hammerhead shark attacks on humans, according to the International Shark File.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.