CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Dragged to shore and left to die. That's what happened to an eight-foot sand tiger shark at Carolina Beach last night. WWAY found it decomposing in a maintenance yard today.
A 15-year-old and his friends say police told them to drag the live shark out of knee-deep water and on to the beach. The teens say they told police they wanted to push it back out to sea and let it live, but did what they were instructed.
The sand tiger is a protected species. The shark was found at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on Carolina Beach in front of the boardwalk. Police called a tow truck to get the shark off the beach before tourists arrived in the morning. On-lookers watched the shark hanging from the truck take its last breaths. The shark was dumped in a maintenance yard, where someone later pulled out all its teeth. Evan Pye says police just sat back at their cars and watched last night.
"They were just like, 'Sons bring it up here.' We're like 'Why? Why bring it up here?' because we were trying to make it live. 'No, you got to bring it up here. You got to bring it up here.' We're like 'We're not going to bring it up there,' and they're like, 'Bring it up right now,' and started yelling at us and stuff like that and telling us that they're going to arrest us and stuff like that," Pye said.
Experts at the Fort Fisher Aquarium think the shark was caught by a fisherman and put up such a big fight, it was tired and may have swum close to shore to die.
Carolina Beach Police Chief William Younginer said the officers were trying to keep the shark from biting someone later. Younginer said he's going to talk to the officers working last night, but he said the situation probably could have been handled better. The chief said he's going to bury the shark, even if he has to do it himself.