Shark sighting closes Coffs Harbour beach

GALLOWS Beach in Coffs Harbour was closed for almost an hour this afternoon after a commercial aircraft spotted a four metre shark swimming nearby.

Lifeguard Greg Hackfath and police were quickly on the scene, an alarm was sounded and surfers were quickly removed from the water.

A DPI spotters boat with water police also responded and the beach area including Boambee Headland was inspected.

After the suspect shark was not found, the all clear was given and the beach was re-opened.

Mr Hackfath said the shark had been swimming 400-500 metres offshore when the alarm was raised.

"There were about half a dozen surfers in the water at the time - we got everyone out of the water and put signs up," Mr Hackfath said.

"We have no idea what type of shark it was, but being that size there are only limited types it could be."

With a spike in shark attacks on the Mid and North Coasts in recent months, Mr Hackfath said authorities remain on alert.

"There was another sighting during the Coffs Harbour surf comp a couple of weeks ago, but there are no more sightings than we've had in previous years," he said.

"It doesn't mean they're not there, but we're fortunate in Coffs Harbour that we don't seem to see those bigger sharks as often compared to locations north and south of us."

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