An unsuspecting surfer nearly had a very close encounter with a great white shark off the coast of Australia.
Pro surfer Matt Wilkinson, 32, was unaware of the predator swimming just inches away from him. The shark comes in close before turning and swimming off at the last second.
The entire incident was captured by an airborne drone deployed by authorities in New South Wales to watch out for sharks.
It’s thought the noise from the drone may have scared off the 1.5-metre shark before it could cause harm.
‘I heard, like, the sound of its tail and I kinda looked back and I was like, ‘no, there’s nothing there,’ and I had some weird vibes and just convinced myself that it was all good, as you always do when you’re out in the surf,’ Wilkinson told local media.
Moments later, the drone issued a warning to others to get out of the water.
When he finally saw the footage from the drone, Wilkinson said his ‘heart sank’ at the sight.
Drone pilot Beau Monks, from Surf Life Saving NSW, revealed his fear at watching the shark materialise from the depths and start circling the surfer.
‘I’m not entirely sure why the shark decided to turn away at the last minute. It could be something as simple as bumping into his leg rope or it might have been the drone,’ he said.
The encounter occurred at Ballina in New South Wales, where numerous shark attacks have been recorded. Drones have been patrolling the water every day since the start of the nearby school holidays.