Shark washes up and dies on NY beach

July 15, 2009 5:37:57 AM PDT
A 20-foot-long basking shark that washed ashore on a beach on New York's Long Island appears to have died from some kind of illness.

New York State Parks official George Gorman says researchers will examine the shark to determine a cause of death. After that, it will be buried in nearby sand dunes on the beach.

The basking shark, which are common in the waters off Long Island, washed ashore Tuesday on a town beach a few miles east of Jones Beach.

Basking sharks are not considered dangerous. They eat plankton.

Tracy Marcus of Cornell Cooperative Extension says the shark weighs about a ton. She says it is unusual for an ailing basking shark to come ashore. Usually they die in the ocean.