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Shark sighting in Herne Bay panics swimmers

By KentOnline reporter

A shark which had panicked swimmers running from the sea in Herne Bay has been spotted again a mile away.

The predatory fish first caused chaos when it was seen cruising in shallow water near bathers at about 1.30pm yesterday.

Many people fled from the water to watch the shark from the safety of the beach.

The shark spotted off Herne Bay, according to Abi Bell
The shark spotted off Herne Bay, according to Abi Bell

And now it has been sighted again, with Abi Bell capturing it swimming off the coast of Reculver - where it had last been seen heading.

Among those to see it in Herne Bay yesterday was Natalie Worrall, 19, who was on the beach with her mum Julie, just a few yards down from the Ship Inn.

“I heard a lady shout out and I looked out and saw this triangular fin and everyone seemed to think it was a shark" - Kelsey Wells

The pair, who work for Peter’s Produce in the town and live in Underdown Road, were enjoying their day off when the shark appeared.

She said the shark's fin was spotted about 25 yards out, protruding six to eight inches from the water.

Natalie said: “We were just having a beach day when I saw what at first I thought might be a piece of wood, but then appeared to be a triangular fin.

“It was travelling in the opposite direction to the tide and soon everyone got out of the water. It was like watching a Mexican wave because everyone stood up.

“It was quite close in and I had actually been in the water myself. Then I saw a splash. But I didn’t want to shout shark because I was trying to get my mum’s attention.

“But then everyone was standing and pointing and I thought it must be a shark, but I didn’t want to make a fuss and make an idiot of myself.”

Kelsey Wells, 22, from Basildon, was in the town for a day on the beach.

She said: “I heard a lady shout out and I looked out and saw this triangular fin and everyone seemed to think it was a shark.

“I rushed to take took a photo on my mobile phone, but it’s not that clear.”

Despite the panic, the shark showed little interest in anyone and simply cruised past the beach before swimming off towards Reculver.

Several species of shark can be seen off the Kent coast including the huge but harmless basking shark, a fish that can grow up to 8m long but feeds exclusively on tiny plankton.

Cat sharks, also known as dog fish, can sometimes be seen in the channel.

Herne Bay was once a popular site for fishing for topes, which are also a member of the shark family.

Bryony Chapman, marine policy officer at the Kent Wildlife Trust, said it was difficult to identify the sighting.

"Basking sharks sometimes come into quite shallow water - they follow the plankton about so they can come in quite close.

"But with a basking shark you would expect to see two fins and the nose above the water.

"Blue sharks also wash up very occasionally, as do cat sharks, but we also get reports of dolphins and porpoises off the coast."

Thames coastguard said they had received no calls about the sighting.

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