Growing cluster of huge sharks tracked off Outer Banks. More expected, researchers say

There’s a growing number of great white sharks off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and researchers say there are more on the way.

Four sharks that have tracking devices on them have “pinged” in the area in recent days, according to Ocearch.

Great white sharks are known to gather off the Southeast coast in the winter, according to Ocearch, which runs a Shark Tracker website.

“The Atlantic continental shelf waters off North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the east coast of Florida are a winter hot spot for large white sharks,” the organization said.

“As of this morning, white shark Ironbound has made it to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Right now only white sharks Helena and Unama’ki have pings farther south than him, but others aren’t far behind,” Ocearch said on Twitter on Monday.

Ironbound is a 12-foot-4-inch male great white that last weighed in at 998 pounds, Ocearch said. The organization is tracking three other male great white sharks between 10 and 12 feet that pinged recently off the Outer Banks from Corolla down to Rodanthe.

And the group is tracking about another half dozen big great whites heading south for warmer waters.

Unama’ki, the biggest great white of the bunch around the Carolinas, was between Myrtle Beach and Charleston this week. She was last measured at 15 feet and 5 inches, weighing 2,076 pounds.

Helena, a 12-foot-5-inch female, is now south of Florida, according to Ocearch.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.