Three men attempted to save a shark in distress. A shark is pictured on May, 24, 2007 in Donsol, Philippines, Getty Images

Three men who dove into Canadian waters Saturday night in an attempt to rescue a distressed shark were then called "crazy" by a local, the Canadian Press reported Tuesday.

The would-be rescuers jumped into the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia to try and save a shark that had become trapped in rough water of Cape Breton Beach.

"My personal opinion is that they were kind of crazy," said photographer Sean O'Connell, who observed the incident from nearby Inverness Beach. "The thing comes back to life and turns and wants to have a nibble, they were right there waiting for him."

O’Connell, 33, watched the attempted rescue with his two young daughters. He said that the men wore headlamps as they pulled and pushed the shark from behind, directing it back to sea.

"These three guys had went in the water, trying to drag the shark back out about 40 feet into the deeper water, trying to get him back moving," O'Connell said. "He was already moving a bit in the shallows, but they pushed him out a little bit further to see if they could get him back to life."

However, their rescue attempt was futile, according to O’Connell. The shark went "belly up" when it reached deeper waters and washed ashore the next day.

A statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said authorities went to the beach early Monday and identified the creature as a porbeagle toothed shark, commonly found in waters off Novia Scotia between May and October. The department added that it had no plans to perform a necropsy or other tests.

The Porbeagle dwells in cold and temperate marine waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere. It can reach over 8 feet in length and can gain a weight of 298 pounds, according to the website.

O'Connell called the men selfless. He added that he probably wouldn't have attempted a shark rescue. The Cape Breton native said he’s never witnessed a shark so close to shore, adding that its carcass garnered local attention.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a shark up that close," O'Connell said. "There's been a pretty steady stream of people going down and snapping photos."