Chilling photos reveal sharks swimming close to unsuspecting tourists in South Carolina ocean waters
Some swimmers were spotted only a few feet away from lurking sharks at South Carolina's Myrtle Beach on Friday, June 14, with one tourist capturing photographs of the predators swimming in the surf. Ginger Gilmer took the photographs from her 15th-floor balcony at a resort in Cherry Grove and uploaded them to Facebook, where they have been shared more than 24,000 times.
The harrowing photographs showed how close the sharks were swimming to the oblivious families who were enjoying their day at the beach. One picture shows a man holding a young toddler standing just feet away from the shark, and its dorsal fin can be seen sticking out of the water.
Another image shows a man standing with his back to the shark while a child wades into the sea. "Why I go to the beach to get in the pool!", Gilmer wrote. "SHARKS!!!! Not one person had an idea of what was lurking around them. Can't see the bottom, not swimming in it!"
Further writing in her post's comments section, Gilmer mentioned that the pictures show three different sharks. "It was an awesome sight, but scary," she said to Fox 17. "The people in the water were clearly not aware." However, people commenting on the post disagreed over whether or not the people in the water were at risk.
Some suggested the sharks captured by Gilmer were likely to be nurse sharks, a species National Geographic describes as "for the most part harmless to humans". Michael Edwards wrote: "I've fished with them swimming around my legs when blues are running hard along the coast. Those little fellers won't hurt you."
But another user, Joy Dowell took a more cautious approach, saying: "I tell people they come in less than 3 ft of water... and Cherry Grove is known for their Tiger sharks especially. Crazy." According to reports, tiger sharks have developed a reputation as aggressive man-eaters, and are second only to great whites for attacks on humans.
Gilmer told Fox 17 that although the sightings have not put her off going to the beach, she was not planning on swimming any time soon. "I will still go back to Myrtle Beach, I am not getting in the ocean. Mad respect for the sharks. They are amazing predators and they are right where God intended them to be. I love the beach and will definitely go back."