MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – It seemed to be just a normal Myrtle Beach vacation.
But that changed Monday morning for a Richmond, VA family, who captured several sharks feasting on a school of fish just offshore on video.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Garrett Archibeque said. He was skimboarding with his cousin, Jackson, when the sharks suddenly appeared. “It was a heck of a feeding frenzy for the sharks.”
It happened around 10:30 Monday morning, Archibeque recalls.
“I saw a few fish start jumping,” he said. “By that time, my uncle and brother thought they spotted a shark, so we started looking out for that. And next thing you know, my aunt is taking a video of 5 sharks jumping out of the water.”
That video has now been shared thousands of times on social media, and has been featured by news outlets nationwide.
“All of a sudden here the sharks come and they’re doing their aerial thing,” Kent Savedge said. He saw the whole thing play out from the beach. “It’s quite a sight”
Savedge was the one who first spotted the sharks near his son and nephew.
“So we go over there and sure enough we see a fin,” he remembered. “So I tell my wife. She starts taking a video and in a matter of seconds, that’s the image everybody is seeing right now. Apparently, she’s the only one that got the split-second photo of the sharks coming up.”
We showed the video to Stacia White, an animal curator and shark expert at Ripley’s Aquarium.
“What you’re seeing in the video is basically what we call a bait school or a giant school of fish,” she said. “Mullet, bluefish, things like that.”
White says that sharks are drawn to these large groups of fish.
“Anytime that they can find a large school of fish, it actually gives them a better opportunity to get a meal,” White said. “They’re going to have better odds at getting a few fish out of that school.”
She recommends that swimmers stay away from schools of fish, which appear as a “dark cloud in the ocean.”
“But also, you want to avoid swimming at dusk or dawn. That’s when sharks are very active,” White said.
Lt. Jonathan Evans of Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue says that sightings like this one are rare, but Ocean Rescue is constantly monitoring for sharks.
“We always will keep an eye out,” he said. “And if someone sees one, let somebody know who is authority out here and we’ll get the waters cleared.”
He adds that swimmers need to stay away from piers, which can be a hot spot for sharks.
The sharks didn’t seem to phase this family, though.
“I wasn’t really scared,” Garrett Archibeque said. “It’s the sharks’ habitat. You’re with them either way. It’s pretty cool to see them actually in action.”
His brother, Grayson, agreed.
“You see all the scary stuff on Shark Week, but I thought it was pretty cool to see it in real life,” he said.