High above a California beach, a helicopter crew told numerous people in the water over a loud speaker to calmly exit the water after more than a dozen great white sharks were spotted in their vicinity.
“You are paddle-boarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks,” Deputy Brian Stockbridge announced over the helicopter loudspeaker to people in the water. “They are advising you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the surfline.”
Captured on video and posted online by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, sharks are seen swimming right next to the beachgoers.
When asked by CBS News how the people responded, Stockbridge said that, “Well, unlike normal, they pretty much complied immediately.”
Just one day later, on Thursday, three more great white sharks were spotted during a scan of the shore aboard the sheriff’s helicopter, according to The Orange County Register.
The water isn’t currently closed, they report, but signs are posted with a shark advisory, and the earliest it will be lifted is Saturday morning.
Nearby San Onofre State State Beach — the same spot where a woman was bitten by a shark on April 29 — a surfer reported on Wednesday that an 8-foot shark darted toward him.
“Within 6 feet of the surfer, its tail flipped and it made a circling motion around him,” Mark Allen, lifeguard chief for Orange County district south sector for State Parks, told The Orange County Register.
This behavior, which is considered “aggressive,” put the area on a 48-hour advisory.
According to marine biologist Chris Lowe, who runs the shark lab at California State University in Long Beach, the shark population is increasing.
“The reason why I think we’re seeing more sharks is because we’ve protected them. They’ve been protected in U.S. waters since 2005,” he told CBS. “The other thing is, there’s lots of food. So along our beaches, the sting ray populations have been kind of exploding over the last 50 years.”