SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- The plight of a shark in distress caused quite a spectacle in Santa Cruz on Friday afternoon after the great white washed up on shore and remained stranded throughout the evening.
The young adult male shark appeared near Pleasure Point at around 3 p.m. and began attracting a crowd of onlookers.
"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.
Spectators approached the struggling predator and watched helplessly from a short distance. They posted photos and videos on social media.
Rescuers from the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation arrived at 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 the organization's Sean Van Somneran. "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 kind of bruised," said bystander Chloe Lew. "It had red on its fins and was just washing up and hitting the rocks."
Shark researchers speculated that either a hook got caught in the shark's mouth or it came down with a carnobacterium infection, which affects the nervous system. The state fish and wildlife lab wants to study the shark. An attempt to recover it was expected to resume Saturday.
VIDEO: Good Samaritans attempt to help great white shark in Santa Cruz