Sean Pepper was convinced he saw the fin of a large shark swimming along the shoreline of Hastings in East Sussex, Britain, so he posted video of it on Facebook as a means to warn beachgoers.
“I saw it and was convinced straight away it was a shark fin," the 34-year-old told the Mirror. "I zoomed in and you could see there was a fin, just like in the Jaws films. “You could see it so clearly. It kept swimming back and forward, going out and then coming back up. It looked like it was feeding.
“After a while quite a few people had gathered watching."
The headline in the Mirror blared, "Large shark circles menacingly off British seaside resort," but as it turned out, the apparent hysteria and talk of sharks was all for naught as it turned out to be something sharks feed on.
"This wasn't a shark at all, but an adult grey seal sleeping with its head sticking out of the water," Stephen Marsh of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue told the Daily Mail.
Pepper, who spotted the "shark fin" from the window of his brother's house, said in the video, "a seal doesn't have a fin like that!"
But it wasn't a fin. It was, as Marsh said, the seal's head. One method seals use to sleep is called bottling, with their noses pointed upwards.
"British Divers Marine Life Rescue, for whom I work, were called and I attended," Marsh told the Daily Mail. "The Coastguard were also there and had already taken photographs of the seal.
"No shark at all and the posts on Facebook that were saying it was were taken down the same day after it was identified."
Shark hunting in hastings , Liam was expecting Jaws .. reality is its a seal 😝 pic.twitter.com/k2JHXL2epH
— Misswhu3 (@misswhu3) October 10, 2017
The Sun actually quoted a British shark expert, Richard Peirce, claiming it was likely a basking shark. The Sun also posted a tweet from a woman who correctly identified the "fin."
"Shark hunting in Hastings, Liam was expecting Jaws…reality is, it's a seal," the tweet read.
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