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ENVIRONMENT

Beaches closed in Mallorca amid shark fears

A shark that caused terror on beaches around Mallorca over the weekend has been caught and killed.

Beaches closed in Mallorca amid shark fears
Photo: SURZet/Depositphotos

The 1.5 metre long blue shark had first been spotted in the shallows of beaches around Magaluf on Saturday sparking a hunt by emergency services.

WATCH: Video of the shark

Civil Guard patrols and Civil Protection workers monitored the area occasionally ordering beaches to be closed when the shark, known as a tintorera in Spanish, was spotted.

It was finally caught on Sunday afternoon and discovered to have a serious head wound caused by a harpoon spear so was euthanized by experts from the Palma Aquarium.

The fish had caused panic in the water after swimming dangerously close to bathers, including young children on inflatibles, and led to authorities ordering everyone out of the water.

Holidaymakers posted pictures of the shark swimming in shallow waters while swimmers raced to the shore.

The story made the front pages of British tabloids.

Blue sharks are one of the most common sharks in the Mediterranean but rarely appear close to shore and pose little danger to humans.

However, marine experts believe this shark became disorientated after being injured.

Last summer in Elche, on Spain's eastern coast, a man was bitten on the hand by a blue shark.

 

CLIMATE CRISIS

Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.

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