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Two men wade into the surf to aid a stranded whale. Instead, they find a huge shark.

A viral video shows a close encounter with an injured great white shark in shallow water off Baja California. A team of scientists recently went on a month-long expedition to learn more about the White Shark Cafe, a place in the Pacific Ocean that great white sharks consistently migrate to from the Bay Area.
A viral video shows a close encounter with an injured great white shark in shallow water off Baja California. A team of scientists recently went on a month-long expedition to learn more about the White Shark Cafe, a place in the Pacific Ocean that great white sharks consistently migrate to from the Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle file

When Dale Pearson and a friend saw what looked like a whale struggling in the surf near their Baja California, Mexico, homes, they headed out to lend a hand.

As the two got closer, they debated whether it might be a hammerhead shark, instead. But when they saw it was a 14-foot-long great white shark, their reaction was, well, unprintable.

In a video of the encounter posted to YouTube, one of the men approaches the shark and notes it appears to have been injured by a boat propeller. “This thing’s huge,” he says. “Oh my gosh … I’m shaking.”

The Marine Conservation Science Institute in California also shared the video on its Facebook page, explaining that “the injuries from the boat propeller would likely not kill the shark.”

In a comment on the institute’s post, Pearson says the shark did not appear to be stranded and left the shallows several times. He says it may have been feeding on rays.

Pearson’s YouTube video of the encounter has more than 63,000 views.

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