Two men in Newfoundland rescued a beached Greenland shark that was found choking on a piece of moose hide
Two men in Newfoundland rescued a beached Greenland shark found choking on a piece of moose hide

Two Canadians did what anyone would do when they spotted a big shark choking to death on a local beach - they rushed to the shark's rescue.

Local man Derrick Chaulk was driving along Norris Arm North in Newfoundland when he spotted what he thought at first was a beached whale thrashing around on the beach. As he drew closer he saw it was actually a 2.5 metre (8ft) Greenland shark.

Chaulk realised the shark had moose hide stuck in its throat. Another local man, Jeremy Ball, arrived and rather than attempt the Heimlich Manoeuvre the men tried pulling the stuck food from the shark's mouth.

Chaulk said: "He swallowed [the moose] and got it halfway down and couldn't cough it back up and couldn't get it all down, and then I think the tide brought him in. A couple of yanks and it just came right out."

To get the shark back into the sea Ball attached a rope to its tail and Chaulk started to push.

"He pulled the rope, and I pushed with my boot, and between the two of us we got him out into deeper water," Caulk said.

The shark started to breathe again after a few minutes. Eventually it swam away, apparently in rude health - if perhaps embarrassed at biting off more than it could chew.

"There were a few people up on the bank watching and once that shark swam out and lifted his tail and then swam all the way out, everybody just clapped," said Caulk. "It was a good feeling to see that shark swim out, knowing that you saved his life."

Greenland sharks can grow larger than great whites and live for over 200 years but rarely encounter humans. Remains of polar bear and reindeer have been found in their stomachs but they usually prefer fish.

Local shark expert Jeffrey Gallant cautioned that removing items from a shark's mouth was generally ill-advised but in this case the rescuers were right to do what they did.

"When you're manhandling a shark like this and trying to get it back in the water, the fact that its mouth was otherwise preoccupied by chewing on the meat, you reduce the risk yourself of getting bit accidentally," he said.

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