An injured shark with an unusually long tail has been escorted into open waters, following a fascinating display in the mouth of the Minnamurra River.
The three metre-long thresher shark was sporting a gaping wound from a much larger apex predator when it was spotted, bleeding and uncharacteristically close to shore, Sunday morning.
Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Club captain Josh Douglas used a jetski to shepherd the creature towards the open sea.
“I'd say he'd been bitten and was just cruising with the current and got brought in with the big tides,” Mr Douglas told the Mercury.
A crowd gathered to watch the shark as it thrashed around, seemingly stuck in the mangroves.
“Because it was such a high tide, a lot of the mangroves are underwater, and he was tied up there,” Mr Douglas said.
“We received a call because it was thrashing and not swimming freely.
“They're funny; they look a lot bigger than they are because of the tail.”
The creature’s tail made up more than one third of its body.
The species uses its distinctive, scythe-shaped tail to stun prey, but poses little threat to humans, with no unprovoked attacks recorded on the International Shark Attack File.
A passer-by in a boat helped Mr Douglas shepherd the creature into open waters about midday, but it soon afterwards succumbed to its injury, washing up on Mystics Beach about 1.30pm.
Its remains were later disposed of, several kilometres off shore.