Shark-shaped shadow gets up close and personal with Tenn. family

PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Portland family wasn’t sure they saw a shark while vacationing in Florida, but they weren’t going to take any chances.

The Ayers family was vacationing in Panama City,, Florida in early June.

Nichole Ayers, her three children, ages 2, 3 and 6, and other family members were all playing in the surf in waist deep water.

That’s when her husband said he saw a large fish, a dark shadow estimated at 10 feet long, no more than 3 or 4 feet from him and the rest of the family.

He yelled for everyone to get out, thinking he had seen a shark up close.

A woman on the tenth floor of a nearby apartment building watched the dark shadow swim down the beach and approach the family.

She took pictures, ultimately emailing the compelling photo to the Ayers family.

When Nichole Ayers opened the email, she said she was shocked.

“It was terrifying. It was at least 10 feet, and my husband said he looked back behind him and he saw this dark shadow and he started hollering for all of us to get out of the water,” she said.

Nichole Ayers said she thinks it could be another type of fish, or a dolphin, but she believes it was a shark.

“Whatever it was, it was big enough for us to get out of the water,” she said.

But she told News 2 they did not see a fin.

“We didn’t even see it coming. I almost don’t want to think it was a shark because it was that close to my family,” said Ayers. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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