TWILIGHT Beach was closed for over an hour on Friday following the sighting of a suspected Great White shark in the vicinity of the popular recreational spot.
Swimmers at Twilight Beach were evacuated from the water by lifeguards at the Esperance Goldfields Surf Life Saving Club, and local Shire rangers attended following reports of a Great White in the area.
Local resident Neville Mulgat said he was relaxing with his family at the beach when at around 11am surf lifesavers called for everybody to immediately leave the water.
“A surf lifesaver shouted to everyone on the beach that there had been a shark spotted nearby and that everyone had to get out of the water,” Mr Mulgat said.
“There were dozens of people stranded on that popular large rock close to shore so the Surf Club launched a small rubber dinghy to ferry everyone safely back to shore. Everyone appeared to really scamper through the shallows,” he said.
Surf Life Saving Club Duty Officer Chris Brien said that approximately 30 people had to be evacuated by boat from the iconic rock.
Mr Brien said that the Esperance Goldfields Surf Life Saving Club had received a phone call about a shark sighting from local police at around 11am. The beach was closed for swimming shortly after.
“We closed the beach from Fourth to Twilight,” he said.
After numerous patrols, the beach was re-opened at around 12.20pm.
The shark was initially sighted from the air by Esperance Helitours pilot Paul Verlander at around 10.30am. Mr Verlander said the shark was at least 4 metres in length and appeared to be a Great White.
“We sighted it about 10 metres from the beach. It was obviously a Great White because it was moving slowly and it was barrel shaped,” Mr Verlander said.
Mr Verlander said that the latest shark sighting was one in a series he had recently spotted close to shore.
“Just last week I spotted a Bronze Whaler shark only 2 metres off the beach near the Esperance Tanker Jetty,” he said.