SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A shark caused quite a spectacle in Santa Cruz. It washed up on shore and was stranded all Friday evening. Beachgoers whipped out their cellphones and shared photos of the beached animal on social media.
RELATED: Scuba diver captures close encounter with great white shark
A rare and sad sight in Santa Cruz Friday evening -- a white shark in the shallow waters, dangerously close to the beach. The young adult male appeared near Pleasure Point at around 3 p.m. Friday. It was struggling, and clearly distressed. It attracted quite a crowd.
"There's a great white shark on the beach, it's on the news -- of course I"m going to come check it out," said Giancarlo Thomae of Santa Cruz.
Onlookers came close, watching helplessly. They posted photos and videos on social media.
Rescuers from the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation arrived on the scene and tried to help the shark, which was roughly 8 to 10 feet back into the ocean.
"We were able to get the shark upright in the water, it kind of turned around. It was aimless," said Sean Van Somneran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. "Apparently there were steerage issues. The shark doesn't know where it's at."
There were numerous attempts, but they were unsuccessful. As darkness fell, beachgoers watched the shark's health deteriorate further.
"It just looked dead, and it was kinda bruised. It had red on its fins and was just washing up and hitting the rocks," said Chloe Lew of Santa Cruz.
Shark researchers speculate either a hook got caught in the shark's mouth or it came down with what's called a Carnobacterium infection, which affects the nervous system. The state fish and wildlife lab wants to study the shark. An attempt to recover it will resume Saturday.
Click here for more stories, photos, and video on animals.
Good samaritans attempt to help great white shark in Santa Cruz