Dozens of beachgoers, police, lifeguards and wildlife officials came together this week to try to save a stranded great white shark in Massachusetts in the U.S.

When news of a 14-foot (4.2m) beached great white reached officials at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), it didn't take long for biologist Cynthia Wigren to arrive on the scene. Using a small sand pail, Wigren started dumping water over the struggling shark's gills while she called for backup – but much to her surprise, beachgoers started pouring in to help.  (A brief pause to note that even if a shark isn't moving, running close to its face is a bad idea.)

The crowd quickly dug a pool of water around the 2,000-pound (1 ton) male, and began excavating a trench towards the sea. Sadly, despite their best efforts, the animal was just too far gone to regain its strength, but the conservancy was encouraged by the camaraderie of the rescue attempt.

"We're not sure why it beached," they explain. "It might be a case of it moving into shallow water and then being unable to get out. We are grateful for the tremendous effort made by the public to save the shark. We did use people to drag it into the water but we needed a boat to drag it in [deeper] so waited until the boat arrived ... It had been on the beach for over two hours, and when we got it back into the water we held it against the side of the boat for over an hour running water over its gills in an attempt to revive it. There was no sign of movement." 

Necropsy results revealed no jarring injuries, or clear cause of death, but the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will be updating us on the case later this afternoon. Updates to follow!  

A similar tactic was successfully used to rescue a white shark in the area earlier this year:

Great white rescue-related-2015-9-3

Top header image: Ken Bondy/Flickr