Shark sightings prompt warning off Cape Kiwanda

Confirmed shark sighting off Cape Kiwanda

PACIFIC CITY, Ore. – Tillamook County authorities posted neon pink warnings on the beach at Cape Kiwanda and on social media this week, after at least four people since Friday reported seeing a shark or multiple sharks in the water.

The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office said it had confirmed shark sightings on Nov. 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the Cape Kiwanda area.

"Swimmers, surfers, fishermen, everyone ... beware," the office wrote Tuesday morning on its Facebook page.

Lieutenant Gordan McCraw with the county’s Emergency Management office said all the reports were made by surfers, who came within feet of a shark in the water.

One said he saw multiple sharks at once.

Another said he only saw one, but one was enough.

“One of his friends said it was probably about 10 feet long or longer,” said Lt. McCraw Wednesday. “I'm six foot tall so it would be four feet taller than I am.”

McCraw added authorities don’t know the breed of shark, or sharks, spotted.

Staff at Moment Surf Company, which sits less than one block from the popular surf spot, said surfers have come into the shop talking about their close encounters.

“They don't see a fin so much. They just see a head looking at them. In this particular case, that's what happened,” said Gary Gregg, who works at the store. “Somebody saw the shark, alerted his friends, and they all paddled in.”

No one has been hurt or attacked in any of these incidents, said Lt. McCraw, but authorities are asking people to be extra cautious.

Last October near Ecola State Park, a shark bit surfer Joe Tanner in the leg, forcing him to fight it off.

“I just had gills in front of me. I figured those are pretty sensitive, so I just had to go to town on them,” he said in an interview with KGW shortly after the attack.

Wednesday at Cape Kiwanda, beachgoers didn’t get in the water, but they did watch from the shore hoping to snag a sighting.

Back inside Moment Surf Company, Gregg noted surfers would be back in the water sooner rather than later, adding sharks are an unspoken risk they’re willing to take.

“Once in a while we do see them,” he said. “It kind of just brings home that they do own the water, and we just play in it.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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