Two kayakers managed to escape unscathed after a great white shark took a bite out of one of their boats Thursday evening off the coast of Plymouth, officials said.
The incident was reported to the Plymouth harbormaster at about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Assistant Harbor Master Stefan Gustafson. Harbormaster officials responded to Manomet Point, about 100 yards off the coast, he said.
“The shark had bit through one of their kayaks,” Gustafson said. “Both kayakers were knocked into the water, and one of the kayaks was sinking.”
Harbormaster officials rescued the two female kayakers, who were in their mid-20s—one from Plymouth and one from Barnstable, Gustafson said.
Earlier Thursday, officials had received a call about a reported shark sighting in the area.
“We got a report earlier in the day that a woman saw a shark eat a seal,” he said.
After the sighting was reported, authorities searched for the shark and were unable to find it, Gustafson said. Officials believe the same shark had remained in the area and attacked the kayakers later on Thursday.
Following the attack, harbormasters deployed a boat to search for the shark and State Police sent a helicopter for assistance, Gustafson said. Authorities were again unable to locate the animal.
“First thing in the morning, we’ll be having a boat in the area searching for any sightings,” Gustafson said. “We advise that people stay out of the water on Plymouth beaches such as Whitehorse Beach and Plymouth Beach.”
He said the shark was between 12- and 14-feet long, according to officials from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
Kristi Selmi, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the sighting was confirmed based on tooth fragments and bite radius on the kayak.
“Shark sightings have become a more common occurrence during the summer months due to an increasing population of grey seals in the area,” Selmi said.
Hundreds of beachgoers were ordered out of the water on Aug. 25 when a great white shark was spotted cruising just outside the buoys delineating the swimming area at Duxbury Beach, officials said.
Off Chatham on Aug. 21, passengers spotted a great white shark swimming under their boat.