Nail-biting drone footage has captured a giant shark over 8 feet long that is circling an unsuspecting surfer in Australia.
The operator of the device described the terrible moment, which he observed on a monitor, when the shark, which was presumably a great white man, headed for the surfer’s leg.
Lifesavers were able to trigger an alert from the device as it flew over pro surfer Matt Wilkinson – alerting him to the beast that was focused on him.
The stunned 32-year-old surfer said he only realized how close the shark got to his leg after looking at footage of his near miss.
Mr Wilkinson said he was grateful that the shark wanted to “rethink” a chomp at the last minute, adding, “I’ll live another day to surf.”
The predator was captured while paddling on its board on the board off the coast of Sharpes Beach in northern New South Wales on Wednesday.
The tense footage shows the shark longer than its surfboard and makes its way to Wilkinson – before suddenly being frightened at the last second and leaving him alone.
“I heard a splash and a noise and looked around and couldn’t see anything,” said Wilkinson after a testimony from Surf Life Saving NSW, where he relived his encounter.
The lifesavers watching from the bank warned him not to get out of the water through the drone’s speakers.
“The drone came down and told me there was a dangerous shark in the area. Return to the beach,” Wilkinson said in the statement.
“I got up to the shore a bit weird and the lifeguards showed me the footage and I realized how close it got without knowing it was there. It looks like it’s going to go for my leg and it has changed his mind.
“I’ve surfed sharks all my life and I understand that they’re there and know enough about them to know that they don’t have too much interest in people. I’m just glad the shark was at the last second today has covered. “
According to reports in Australia, the beach was evacuated and closed for the day after the shark sighting.
It was not the pro surfer’s first encounter with a shark. He said he often met the predators in the waves.
He had also been in the water when surfer Mick Fanning had a near miss in South Africa in 2015.
The now world-famous footage of Fanning fending off the two sharks and hitting one when they fell on his surfboard was broadcast live.
Mr Wilkinson said his shark brush this week reminded him of the close shave five years ago.
He said, “I feel grateful and quite weird at the same time, but happy that I made the decision not to go to myself.
“When I saw the footage I saw the similarities like I was wearing a yellow leg rope and Mick’s board was yellow, I thought of that when I walked in.
“I called my wife because I didn’t want her to see the footage before I saw it. She doesn’t want me to surf for a few days now.”
The drone operator Beau Monks described how he watched in horror on his monitor as the shark appeared “out of nowhere” and circled the surfer.
He told that ABC He got up to alert lifeguards, then used the drone to track down the predator he believed the great white had scared.
Mr Monks told the broadcaster, “I’m not entirely sure why the shark decided to turn away at the last minute. It could have been something as simple as just bumping into his leg rope or it could have been the drone. It marine animals have been known to shoot away when the drone passes by.
“Within 10 seconds it was on the surfer and five seconds later it was gone.”
Surf Life Saving NSW said the drones were used to protect people in the water during school holidays from the Australian summer.
CEO Steven Pearce told the media the incident revealed that drones are being used to monitor NSW beaches for hazards, including sharks. The devices are the “future” of water security.