Beachgoers in South Australia suddenly found themselves in a scene reminiscent of the film "Jaws" this weekend when a massive shark was spotted lurking in the waters near a kid's surf carnival in Adelaide.

A helicopter from the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue was patrolling the area of the sea over Marino Rocks on Sunday afternoon when its crew saw what appeared to be a Great White shark swimming about 200 meters (218 yards) offshore.

The shark's presence caused organizers of a local junior surf lifesaving carnival to cancel the event and evacuate swimmers from the area.

A spokeswoman from the Surf Life Saving South Australia said that members of the rescue helicopter's crew estimated that the sea creature was about 6 to 7 meters (19 to 23 feet) long.

"They didn't have a tape measure, of course, but that is how long they estimated it to be," she said.

The spokeswoman added that crew members typically spot sharks from the air during their patrols, but the Great White they recently saw was particularly large.

She was, however, unable to provide any comments on a post on the Facebook page of Shark Alerts South Australia, which was allegedly written by one of the rescue team's members.

According to the post, the Great White shark was the biggest one the crew member has ever seen as part of Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter. Even though they put the sea creature down as 7 meters (23 feet) long, the photograph they took doesn't do it justice.

News of the shark sighting caused a debate among people on social media, with some claiming that the shark could not have been as large as reported.

"Can't be 7m they are getting carried away that would be a meter bigger than record books!" one Facebook user wrote. "Still too close to home."

Another user argued that if the shark was indeed 7 meters (23 feet) long, then news about it would have spread worldwide. He said that such false information should not be given out.

The Surf Life Saving SA spokeswoman pointed out that at the time of the shark's spotting, the local junior surf lifesaving carnival was being held near Seacliff Beach.

She said they sent out jet boats to offer water coverage during the beach event. They were called into action, along with several inflatable rescue boats.

However, by the time the boats reached the area where the Great White was seen, she said the creature had moved on into deeper waters. There were no reports of further sightings of the shark made throughout the day.

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