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Beach Closed As 13-Foot Great White Shark Washes Ashore In Westport

LITTLE COMPTON, RI (CBS) – A 13-foot Great White shark washed ashore on state line between Westport, Mass. and Little Compton, RI on Saturday.

Gary Severa, who was fishing out at Brayton Point in Westport spotted the fish in the surf and reported it to police.

MORE PHOTOS: Shark Washes Ashore In Westport

Severa used his fishing pole to measure the shark. He figured it was about 13 feet long.

Marine officials confirmed that the shark was in fact a Great White and weighs about 1700 lbs.

The state's shark expert Greg Skomal said he was rather surprised to find the the carcass was that of a Great White.

"We're thinking it's a basking shark at first because they do wash ashore quite a bit," he said. "But this is clearly a White Shark and it catches us a little off guard because we don't typically see them up on the beach."

No surprise; the discovery caught neighbors off guard as well.

"We thought it was limited to areas that had seals so we're surprised it's here," said Karen Green, Westport homeowner.

"It's already on Facebook, so I thought as a photographer, I should come down and check it out," said Sally Merritt Swart. "It's kind of sad because they're endangered."

The neighboring South Shore Goosewing Beach in Little Compton was closed as a result of the find.

It's unclear how the shark died. Marine experts will try to determine the cause. They will also dissect the carcass for scientific research.

"It will be a formal dissection," Skomal said. "We'll be looking at its reproductive system, taking sections of its backbone, [and] looking at its stomach. [We are] trying to learn about its biology from various aspects."

WBZ-TV's Bree Sison contributed to this report.

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