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Cape Cod beach closed to swimming following shark sighting

TRURO, Mass. — A popular Cape Cod beach was closed to swimming after a great white shark was spotted close to shore on Tuesday afternoon.

The shark was seen in the water off Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro around 1 p.m., according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app.

The beach did not reopen until after 2 p.m.

Beaches on the Cape are typically closed for an hour following a shark sighting.

“I want to see a great white,” said Jeff Vincett, vacationing from Pennsylvania. “That’s why I came to Cape Cod.”

Alexa Emard packed shark-themed clothing for the kids ahead of their annual trip to the Cape. The family, who traveled from New York, often watches Jaws before their summer vacation.

After learning of the shark sighting, Emard and her family waited until swimming reopened and cooled off in the ocean, staying extra vigilant as the kids played.

“What better thing than the first day on the beach at Cape Cod than to have a shark sighting?” Emard said. “It was exciting. I mean, what are we going to do? Not go into the ocean with a shark?... Did I go above my head? No. But I went chest deep and brought the kids in.”

At 5 p.m., Tuesday, according to the Sharktivity app, a spotter pilot confirmed five white sharks further down the Cape and not as close to shore.

There have been several recent reports of sharks near the Cape and Islands this season, with many more confirmed sightings expected as experts track the creatures.

Experts warn sharks hunt seals in shallow water, and the risk is real at beaches. The last fatal shark attack on the Cape was in 2018. A 26-year-old man was killed in Wellfleet.

Maggie Brown Dougherty of Wellfleet told Boston 25 News, since the tragedy in her town four years ago, she watches for sharks from the shore as her young family members swim.

“I’ll look for fins. Yeah, because I think the lifeguards do a great job, and they’re really on it, but it’s scary,” Brown Dougherty said. “I swim in the ponds, because I think they’re safer.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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