SURFSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A new drone that is being utilized by Southland lifeguards reveals a chilling look at how many sharks are just feet from the shoreline at one beach.
"This morning, we launched it and 10 minutes later, we knew there were 10 to 12 sharks all in the Surfside [Beach] area," said Chief Joe Bailey, a Seal Beach lifeguard.
Bailey says he has flown the drone regularly for the past month.
He says, within a matter of minutes, lifeguards can see the 5- to 6-foot great whites up close in real-time without going into the water.
"It works great," he said. "It flies up about 100 feet, looks down a wide area, and when we see the shadows, we'll go down and focus in on them."
On Monday morning, the drone recorded video of a juvenile great white in waist-high water at Surfside. No swimmers were in the water at the time.
"If we get bigger sharks or we get sharks that are aggressive, we're actually going to close the water. But right now, we have sharks that are 5- to 6-feet long, non-aggressive, acting like normal sharks, feeding on bottom fish, doing exactly what we would expect them to do," he said. "That's why we have it posted just to let people know that they are there."
But some locals aren't taking any chances.
"I was planning on going surfing tomorrow and definitely not now," one woman said, while another said: "Sharks are kind of like my biggest fear, so that's like very daunting for me."
Until the drone sees signs that the sharks are becoming aggressive, Surfside to Seal Beach will remain open to the public, but signs warning beach-goers of the shark sightings will remain posted.
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