Beaches reopen after Wednesday shark sighting off Westport


With no further shark sightings as of 9 a.m. Thursday, Horseneck Beach and others nearby will be open for swimming today (Thursday).

Officials shut down Horseneck Beach and Gooseberry Island in Westport along with Demarest Lloyd State Beach in Dartmouth after a fisherman reported seeing two sharks at around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lt. Dan Richard, Massachusetts state police spokesman, released a tweet informing the public.

The fisherman, identified by Westport Harbormaster Richie Earle as Phil Ashworth, reported seeing two fins from the boat ramp on Gooseberry's east side (facing out toward Cuttyhunk).

"He said he saw a smaller fin going along about 100 yards out and a bigger one about 1,000 yards out," Mr. Earle said.

Two Westport assistant harbormasters, Jonathan Paull and Gary Tripp, took the harbormaster boat out for a look at around 2 p.m.

"They went all over the place for a couple of hours but didn't see anything." Visibility was excellent but the water was somewhat choppy.

A state helicopter was overhead briefly but then took off, supposedly called to the scene of a shooting outside Boston.

Mr. Earle said his office fielded a number of calls, some from operators of  beaches in nearby Massachusetts and over in Little Compton, another from a television station.

"When someone sees a fin everyone goes into a high-speed shimmy," the harbormaster said. "You want to be cautious and safe of course but it does get kind of crazy."



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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.