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Jul 15, 2009

Huge Basking Shark Washes Up On Long Island Beach

A huge 20-foot long basking shark washed ashore on Gilgo Beach on Long Island on Tuesday. Read more about this huge shark and see video below.

People at the beach whipped out their cameras to get a photo of the huge basking shark that washed up on the Long Island shore.

“I haven’t seen a shark in the water around here, but in other places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico,” one beachgoer told CBS.

Some people had a little surprise when they were going into the water.

“I was about to go in the water and I saw this thing laying on the beach. Pretty crazy. I thought it was a great white or something,” said surfer Andrew Brooke.

The shark is a basking shark which is not considered dangerous, but is very large.

“He’s a plankton feeder. You can see inside there’s no teeth inside his mouth,” said marine biologist Tracy Marcus. “He’s a relatively harmless kind of shark, but large.”

“It’s the second largest fish in the world, second to the whale shark,” Marcus said.

Marcus works with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and examined the giant fish.

“I don’t see any major scarring, I mean there is a little bit of a boat hit, it looks like, a little bit of rawness near the tail, but nothing that would kill a shark,” Marcus said.

“It would have been fun if it was still alive. I could have surfed aside it, maybe caught some waves, and rode its fin, grabbed on. No, but, I thought it was pretty cool that something this big could wash up here,” said surfer James McGaley.

Marine experts said it is uncommon for the basking sharks to come ashore to die.

Experts will determine the exact cause of death and the shark will be buried in nearby sand dunes.

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