Beachgoers Rescue Mako Shark Washed Up On Pensacola Beach But Not Before Getting Slapped By Its Tail

Mako shark close up in the water

iStockphoto / Alessandro De Maddalena

Florida beachgoers rushed to rescue a massive mako shark that had washed up on Pensacola Beach. They were able to successfully get the enormous mako shark back into the water but not before getting tail slapped by the thrashing shark.

Footage of the daring rescue attempt has gone viral across TikTok and other social media networks. According to WKRG, it was a couple vacationing from Texas that rushed to the shark’s aid as it laid on the sand in distress.

The huge mako shark is estimated to be around 10ft long and it’s unclear how it ended up on Pensacola Beach. But the most likely explanation is it was chasing prey (small fish) close to shore and flew too close to the proverbial sun like Icarus and wound up beached.

10ft Mako Shark In Pensacola Beach Rescued After Beaching Itself

Tina and Josh Fey (not THAT Tina Fey) spoke with WKRG about how it went down. Josh Fey said “We were sitting on the beach just having a good time and my buddy just said, ‘Look out in the water there, man.’ I see that fin and I was like, yeah, it was two or three sandbars away from us.”

He added “Eventually it just turned to the left and started coming directly beeline toward the shoreline, and I said, ‘That’s a big shark coming in.’ And we thought it was chasing some bait or whatnot, but it came all the way to shoreline and beached itself.”

Despite being an ‘avid fisherman’, this was the closest Josh Fey had ever been to a shark this size. He says the Pensacola Beach mako shark “had about two inch teeth on her, and it was two rows of them, a lot of rows of them, and they were pretty big.” Adding “It was just thrashing all around and I said, ‘We got to get her back in the water because she’s gonna die; something’s wrong….she’s sick; she might’ve got caught by somebody offshore.'”

After calling local authorities to alert them of a shark beaching itself they decided not to wait. Instead, they sidled up next to the 500-600 pound mako shark and got to work with the help of some passersby.

They told WKRG “Thank you to the guys that helped us. You know, if it wasn’t for them, I would not be able to move her. She was every bit of 5 to 600 pounds; I would think. I couldn’t budge her; it took four of us to enter into the water. I hope everybody else that comes to beaches and sees a distressed animal like that, you know, with sea turtles or anything like that, that they help them out.”

After they were able to get the mako shark back into the water it swam away. It’s unclear what happened after that but we can all hope for the best, that the mako shark made it back out to deep water and had a wild story to share with its Pensacola Beach shark friends.

Pensacola Beach and Sharks

The Florida Panhandle is different from the rest of Florida’s West Coast when it comes to water depth. The water gets deeper a lot faster than in Southwest Florida. This means there are larger predators of all sorts hanging around, like tuna and marlin and big sharks, whereas off Tampa fishermen might have to go a few hundred miles offshore to target the same species.

Case in point, Captain John McLean of Big John Shark Fishing Adventures who caught a great white shark earlier this year while fishing on Pensacola Beach. I’m not saying this would never happen in Southwest Florida but the chances of this happening are a LOT higher in the Florida Panhandle and in South Florida on the East Coast.

This was the SECOND great white shark caught by Captain John in two years. He caught another one in Pensacola Beach back in 2021. Suffice it to say, there are some apex predators swimming around in that part of the Gulf of Mexico and it speaks to the healthiness of the area’s fishery.