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Beachgoers video great white shark eating seal

A man fishing in Provincetown Tuesday evening said he watched from the beach as a great white shark swam up behind a seal, sunk its teeth into its prey, and then devoured its meal just a few feet from onlookers.

In a video posted to Facebook by Adam Kossler this week, the shark’s tail and dorsal fin can be seen poking from the surface of the water at Race Point Beach, before quickly disappearing.

Kossler said during a telephone interview that he was live-lining with mackerel when he suddenly spotted a seal, which took his bait. Soon after, the shark appeared.

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“From what I understand, seals can get themselves loose, so you shouldn’t cut the line. So I was holding on, and then the water just exploded in front of me, and the line broke,” said Kossler, an avid fisherman who is visiting Cape Cod to see family. “At the time it happened, I assumed it was the seal trying to free itself, so I didn’t think anything of it. But then I saw the shark, and it bit into it.”

Kossler said the injured seal seemed to be trying to swim closer to the beach, but the shark kept circling it. Then, the predator finished its meal — roughly 10 feet away from where Kossler was standing in the sand.

“The shark followed up behind him and ate the seal in front of us,” he said. “It was incredible but terrifying, seeing a fish that big swimming around in three or four feet of water, completely undetectable.”

The video, which only shows some of the activity, caught the attention of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works with state wildlife experts to track and tag great whites off Cape Cod. The organization shared the video to their own Facebook page Wednesday, and confirmed in an e-mail to the Globe that what Kossler witnessed was in fact a great white.

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A second person also posted video of the event.

Sarah Chapman told the Globe that as she watched the seal jump five feet out of the water, she immediately knew danger was nearby.

“I stuck around and scanned the water, and where Adam was fishing I saw this massive pool of blood,” said Chapman, a Somerville resident who is visiting the Cape this week.

Chapman said the shark at first attacked the seal away from the shore, and seemed to be letting it bleed out. The tide then kept pushing the animal closer to the beach. By the time the shark finally began eating the seal, it was not far from where waves were breaking on the beach, she said.

“I had never seen anything like it before,” she said. “It was incredible.”

Cynthia Wigren, president of the shark conservancy, encouraged people Wednesday to make use of the organization’s “Sharktivity” app, set to roll out in July, to report such sightings.

Besides being able to submit videos and photos through the app, people who download “Sharktivity” will receive “push” notifications to their smartphones when there has been a confirmed shark sighting nearby.

The app is meant to help educate the public as great whites continue to migrate here to feed on the abundance of grey seals.

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Great whites are typically spotted hunting near the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, in Chatham. On Monday, researchers watched as a white shark feasted on a seal there.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.