Seven Hammerhead Sharks Circle Florida Beachgoers in Shocking Video

Florida beachgoers were recently left shocked after multiple hammerhead sharks swam right by their floating raft.

Three women—Lacey Faciane, Casie Thompson and Qyuston Eubanks—were lounging in the water off a beach near Pensacola, Florida, over the Memorial Day weekend.

Jacqueline Lesso, who was on a nearby boat, spotted a number of the sharks swimming nearby and began shooting video.

Footage shows at least four of the sharks gliding through the water, their dorsal fins slightly above the surface. At one point one of the huge fish appeared to be just feet away from someone wading through the water.

The three women floating on the raft could only watch as the events unfolded. One reacted by laughing.

Faciane told Fox10 News she and the rest of her group were near the shore at the time, in water that was around knee- or waist-deep.

She said the close encounter with the animals was "an awesome experience" and that the sharks left after they had swum around their boat.

She added: "Usually you have to pay for that and we didn't have to pay for that."

The women told Fox10 there appeared to be seven sharks in total, though it may be hard to keep count in the footage.

The animals appeared to be hammerhead sharks, as their characteristically shaped heads were visible underneath the water.

Hammerhead sharks have mostly been described as a fairly small species of shark, though some can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

The wide-set eyes of hammerhead sharks give them a better visual range than many other species of shark, and they can also find prey by detecting the electrical fields they generate.

A 2020 study, involving computer analysis of all eight hammerhead shark species, found the animals' heads may provide greater maneuverability than others, which could help them capture prey. At the same time, the scientists found the heads were also associated with greater drag than that of typical sharks.

There are several types of hammerhead shark. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) states that great hammerhead sharks are considered dangerous and rank seventh in unprovoked attacks on humans.

Meanwhile, the scalloped hammerhead shark is considered very shy—so much so that scientists can have trouble studying them—and are unlikely to show aggression towards people, according to Oceana.

The Florida Shark Museum states that in 2020 there was a worldwide total of 57 confirmed unprovoked shark bites—lower than the 2015-2019 average of 80. At the same time, there were 10 unprovoked shark-related fatalities—higher than the annual global average of four unprovoked fatalities per year.

Hammerhead shark
A hammerhead shark pictured swimming near Daedalus Island, Egypt, in May 2017. The animals are associated with their characteristic head shape. Alexis Rosenfeld/Getty