A busy British beach had to be evacuated after what is believed to have been a large shark was spotted yards from the shore.
In scenes straight out of the movie Jaws, bathers were told to get out of the water following the possible sighting off Boscombe beach, in Bournemouth, Dorset, on Wednesday.
RNLI lifeguards put up red flags, the signal to warn swimmers of a serious hazard in the water.
They also put out a tannoy announcement telling people to get out of the sea due to “large marine wildlife” in the water.
The beach, which was busy with families enjoying their summer holidays, remained closed for almost an hour.
Lifeguards searched the sea on jet-skis looking for the ominous sign of a dorsal fin protruding from the water.
It is not known what species of shark was reported to have been spotted in the shallow water but it wasn’t seen again.
Witness Gemma Harris said: “The lifeguard put out a loudspeaker announcement saying ‘everyone out of the water. There is marine wildlife in the water.’
“Everybody rushed out of the water and the RNLI response was very effective.
“They checked the water for about half-an-hour before letting bathers back in.
“Apparently a fin was spotted. We heard one of the RNLI team say it was a shark but nothing has been confirmed.”
A spokesman for the RNLI said: “There were sightings of large marine life at Boscombe beach.
“The situation is being closely monitored by RNLI lifeguards who are asking visitors to stay away from the water and have put up red flags.”
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It comes after experts warned great white sharks could soon be on their way to the British coast as the waters warm up due to climate change.
The huge predators currently prowl the seas around British holiday hotspots in the Canaries and the Balerics, but they could soon be arriving closer to home.
A team of scientists on a Discovery Channel-backed expedition this summer are seeking to probe just how many of the predators there are in the Mediterranean Sea.
And experts say there have been at least 10 credible reports of the fearsome breed being spotted in the seas around the UK.
Cornwall has been suggested as a potential future hotspot for the sea creatures.
Dr Bob Hueter, chief scientist at the sea research organisation OCEARCH, told The Sun: “It is very possible that white sharks already occasionally venture to the British Isles but are not observed or documented.”