Swimmers evacuated from water after shark sighting at Charlestown beach

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WLNE)- Swimmers at East Beach got a bit of a scare Saturday afternoon, after a lifeguard spotted a shark fin from the shore.

Swimmers were told to get out of the water around 3:30 p.m. after lifeguards saw a shark fin 10-15 yards off the shore, and then again 30-40 yards away, according to DEM spokesperson Michael Healey.

The shark was identified as a thresher shark by the chief of the DEM’s Marine Fisheries Division.

Thresher sharks are one of the most common species of sharks found in Rhode Island.

Some lifeguards who witnessed the shark sighting told ABC6 that seeing fins is pretty common, and their main goal is to stay calm for the beachgoers.

“People will come up to us freaking out, like, what was that? What’d you see? Was that a shark? What’s going on?” lifeguard of sixteen years Paul Tarasevich said.

Another lifeguard, Alex Machowski, said just last year he came just feet away from a shark while surfing in Charlestown.

Machowski said he kept calm and kept his distance.

“They’re not aggressive killers like ‘Jaws’ has made them out to be,” Machowski told ABC6. “They’re actually really intelligent animals.”

The DEM estimates that the shark was a juvenile, about six feet long. It came close to the shore because it was chasing a baitfish, possibly a menhaden.

Swimmers had to stay out of the water for an hour, until 4:30, as part of the DEM’s shark incident protocol.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island