Swimmers warned as sharks flock to Alabama beach - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Swimmers warned as sharks flock to Alabama beach

Posted: Updated:
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -

Double red flags were still posted in the area near Alabama Point at Orange Beach for the second day Sunday -- alerting people to avoid swimming due to a high volume of sharks in the area.

The City of Orange Beach posted the warning after a dangerously high number of sharks in the area. WKRG-TV reported that there were "hundreds" of sharks in the small area on Saturday and Sunday.

The warning was posted at Alabama Point and the Shell Parking lot to the east of Alabama Point, closing these beaches for recreation.

"Hopefully once people stop throwing their fish carcasses into the water, they may not be swimming in such numbers that close to the beach," said Melvin Shepard in a release sent to News 5.

News 5 took to the air with Oasis Helicopter and spotted between 100 and 150 sharks grouped together near the pass. On Monday, there were about 25 sharks.

News 5's Blake Brown took to the water by boat Sunday afternoon and within 5 minutes of being on the gulf, he'd spotted his first shark.

We're still not sure what kinds of sharks are grouping together near the pass. One boater suggested they are Mako sharks, which are very common in the gulf waters.

Beach safety supervisor Melvin Shepard says anyone entering the water can be fined. Shepard says the shark swarm may be linked to a large number of fish carcasses in the water during red snapper season.

After a joint helicopter flight conducted by News 5 and City of Orange Beach officials, aerial pictures show most of the sharks that have gathered in the Perdido Pass area have left on Monday.

However, the City of Orange Beach is keeping its double red flag warning up until at least Tuesday morning when another flight is planned.

News 5 flew seven miles down the coastline from state line to Gulf State Park pier and counted about 22 sharks. That number is much closer to normal, according to Orange Beach safety officials.

WKRG's Pat Peterson didn't see any huge shark congregations near the pass, saying it was "mostly individuals."

As for the size of the sharks, Peterson says he saw "a few 6-7 footers, but mostly 3-4 footers."

Although everyone is strongly advised to avoid the waters with double red flags, many swimmers are taking their chances as they dive into the water. Orange Beach authorities will continue to monitor the situation.

Most of the time, sharks tend to stay away from humans, only feeding on fish, and other sea life. However, we have seen our fair share of attacks here on the gulf coast.

Just last year in 2013, a man was pulled from the waters at Pensacola Beach when he was bit.

One of the most remembered attacks happened in 2001, when Jessie Arbogast was attacked. The shark ripped into him on Pensacola Beach when he was a young boy. His story made national headlines, because his uncle wrestled the shark to free Jessie. Jessie survived, but is now confined to a wheel chair, suffering permanent brain damage.

  • U.S. & WorldMore>>

  • US job-training review emphasizes data, employers

    US job-training review emphasizes data, employers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:40 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:40:36 GMT
    A six-month review of federal job-training programs concludes that the government needs to better engage U.S. employers, improve the use of data, and boost apprenticeship programs so workers can earn while they train.
    As the U.S. economy adds new jobs, Americans must have the skills to fill those jobs, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
  • Mexican billionaire says 3-day work week would make us healthier

    Mexican billionaire says 3-day work week would make us healthier

    Monday, July 21 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 21:37:44 GMT
    One of the richest men in the world believes we all work too much and we should be working only three days a week.
    One of the richest men in the world believes we all work too much and we should be working only three days a week.
  • Obama calls for immediate access to crash site

    Obama calls for immediate access to crash site

    Monday, July 21 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-07-21 16:00:27 GMT
    President Barack Obama is calling for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site in eastern Ukraine, where a passenger jet was shot down last week.
    President Barack Obama is calling for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site in eastern Ukraine, where a passenger jet was shot down last week.
  • GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    GM issues 6 more safety recalls

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:05 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:05:10 GMT
    General Motors is issuing six more recalls covering a total of almost 718,000 vehicles in the U.S.
    General Motors is issuing six more recalls covering a total of almost 718,000 vehicles in the U.S.
  • Agents get subsidized 'Obamacare' using fake IDs

    Agents get subsidized 'Obamacare' using fake IDs

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:37:11 GMT
    Congress will hear testimony Wednesday detailing how undercover investigators used fake identities to get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's law.
    Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, congressional investigators said Wednesday.
  • Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:33 PM EDT2014-07-23 17:33:43 GMT
    Ukraine is preparing a departure ceremony for the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster, which are being flown to the Netherlands.
    Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east...
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.