This is the shocking moment terrified tourists had to flee a Benidorm beach after spotting a shark just yards from the shore.

Topless men - one of whom with a snorkel in hand - can be seen wading in the shallows before a large shark begins thrashing in the water nearby.

As they start thinking twice about taking a dip in the appetising sea, lifeguards desperately blow their whistles and encourage the holidaymakers to come back to safety.

But despite most swimmers leaving the water, some failed to get the message, the MailOnline reported.

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Julie Roberts, 56, who was visiting Levante beach from Cheltenham, said a snorkeller was "just feet away" from the beast and didn't realise.

"It was terrifying," she told The Sun.

She added: "There was another lady swimming on her own the other side and she was totally oblivious to what was going on.

"Its tail was flapping around and it looked distressed, which wasn't nice to see."

It swam off moments later as hundreds of beachgoers looked on in shock.

Nobody was hurt when the 8ft shark - whose species has not been identified - swam among the tourists.

Many species of shark can be found off Spain and in the Mediterranean Sea, including blue sharks, thresher sharks and even great white sharks.

But they are very rarely spotted and interactions between swimmers and the large fish are rarer still.

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On Wednesday, however, Spanish media reported that a boy was savaged by a shark off the country's island of Gran Canaria in the Atlantic.