CARLSBAD, Calif. -- A young great white shark washed up on a beach in Carlsbad Sunday.
Christiano Goulart was at a birthday party at Carlsbad State Beach when he spotted the dead shark north of Tower 33. It was reported to California State Park lifeguards at about 11 a.m.
“We saw a big creature rolling in the waves," Goulart told FOX 5. "We thought it was a dolphin, but then I see this big white belly."
Goulart said the group pulled it to shore and alerted lifeguards.
"If it was alive, we were going to try to put it back in the water," Goulart said.
When the lifeguards on duty notified SeaWorld about the shark, SeaWorld officials reported it to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Jorge Moreno with the California Department of Parks and Recreation said the NOAA authorized visiting members of the CSU Long Beach Shark Lab to remove the shark. "Dead marine life often washes up on state beaches and lifeguards work with appropriate authorities to remove and/or study these animals," Moreno said.
A researcher from CSULB estimated the shark to be about 6.5 feet long and around two years old.
Though the cause of death has not yet been confirmed, Moreno said the shark did have injuries. "There were possible gaff hook injuries around (the) left side of jaw," Moreno said, adding that it was likely the wounds had been caused by a fisherman.
News of the dead shark did not stop beachgoers from cooling off in the water the following day.
“I think I’m more frightened by why it died," Jennie Vance told FOX 5.
"You always know they’re there. It’s just scary seeing them in person," Stephanie Williams said.
Two young white sharks were spotted near Coronado last month. April through August is pupping season, and it's not uncommon to see them in the water, said Dr. James Anderson with the CSULB Shark Lab.
However, seeing a shark wash up on shore is unusual, wildlife officials said. A state pathologist will perform a necropsy on the animal to determine how it died. Dr. Anderson expected to have those results in about a week.