Pictures: Melbourne teen encounters 10-foot-long hammerhead shark

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 4:30 PM EDT

A Melbourne High School student recently got up close and personal with a 10-foot-long shark on the beach — a hammerhead shark.

Austin Masone, 16, was at the beach with family in Indialantic last week when he saw two men pulling in the 10-foot-long shark they had just caught during a shark fishing tournament.

But after all the pictures and measurements were taken, they were having trouble getting the hammerhead back in the water as part of the catch-and-release.

Austin, a fisherman himself, sprang into action to help.

The trio got the shark back into the water, but a wave washed it back in.

"Yes, it was a struggle. The tail was very strong," Masone said. "We got hit a couple times with the tail, and it definitely took a lot of energy just to put that thing back in the water."

Austin has gotten a lot of calls and texts from friends about his encounter.

There are about eight species of hammerhead sharks, which are easily identified by their flat, extended head or "cephalofoil." They feed on fish, rays, crustaceans and other sea creatures. Hammerhead sharks are found worldwide in coastal warm temperate and tropical seas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They're highly desired for the shark fin trade, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It's legal to catch hammerhead sharks but not to consume them.