A terrifying moment was caught on camera when a scuba driver recorded a massive shark lunging at him underwater in Durban, South Africa. The video shows the diver’s GoPro camera being knocked off as the 9-foot-shark struck his face.
Elton Polly, 38, was with two of his friends under the water during a baited scuba dive with blacktip sharks. Polly said at one moment an oceanic black tip shark charged directly at the diver and hit his face, and the impact knocked off his mask. The force also pulled the regulator out of the diver’s mouth, but he was not injured in the incident, which was caught on camera. The video was captured Feb. 24, and uploaded to Newsflare on Wednesday.
“It charged right into the diver’s head, knocking his mask off and the regulator from his mouth,” Polly reportedly said. “These type of dives take place daily in that area… No one was injured and the shark was unharmed too.”
According to Polly, the shark did not intentionally attack the diver, but was apparently startled and was attempting to get away from the area where the bait diving was underway.
Baited diving in South Africa is becoming a primary focus of many dive tours to South Africa. These dives are conducted without cages and sharks are attracted to the area by the use of a “bait-ball” or drum, filled with bait. These baits include sardines, tuna or other fish products.
Oceanic blacktip sharks have often shown curiosity towards divers, but they remain at a safe distance. They are usually dark brown-bronze in color with a lighter underbelly and a distinctive light band on the flanks. They have narrow teeth that are cusped on the upper jaw. These sharks show aggressive behavior in the presence of food. As of 2008, the International Shark Attack File lists 28 unprovoked attacks, one of which was fatal. Blacktip sharks are responsible for 16 percent of the shark attacks around Florida annually.
According to Shark Attack Data, there have been 500 incidents in South Africa since the 1900s, most of them unprovoked and not fatal.
Meanwhile, in another incident last month, a video went viral that showed a great white shark jumping at a diver’s cage before sinking its teeth into the metal bars. South Africa is home to one of the densest known population of great whites in the world.