Dead 28-foot shark washes to shore on a Rhode Island beach

Scientists try to figure out what killed the basking shark
This photo provided by the Mystic Aquarium shows a 28-foot-long dead basking shark which was found washed ashore on a Rhode Island beach, Sunday, April 28, 2013. The Day of New London (Conn.) reports that a homeowner in the Misquamicut beach area of Westerly reported the shark to police on Sunday morning. (AP Photo/Mystic Aquarium)
Mystic Aquarium/AP

A Rhode Island beach became the site of a strange tourist attraction over the weekend after a dead 28-foot basking shark washed ashore.

The shark appeared on Misquamicut Beach, a state beach near the border with Connecticut, on Sunday.

The shark is thought to weigh “several tons” and was reported to authorities by an area homeowner, according to local paper The Day. The paper says that curious onlookers gathered on the beach through the day to touch and photograph the shark.

The cause of death is not yet known, but scientists with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center will perform a necropsy to find out how the animal died, reports The Associated Press.

Basking sharks are common to the area. Despite their immense size, they are not considered dangerous to humans because they feed on plankton only.