By Pete Thomas
A diver hoping to photograph great white sharks from the safety of a metal cage instead found himself hunkering down while a crazed shark – which had somehow broke through the bars to join the man – tried desperately to escape.
"Oh God... I almost had a heart attack," the diver says in the accompanying video, in the aftermath of his harrowing encounter.
It was the second time in less than a month that a great white shark had entered an occupied cage at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island.
During the latest incident, the shark was following a chunk of tuna being pulled alongside the cage by a crewman aboard Solmar V. The shark lunged, crashed through the bars, and 30 seconds of chaos ensued before the shark leaped out of the cage through its open top.
When the diver climbed out of the cage and onto the boat, there was a tangible sigh of relief.
The video was uploaded Monday by YouTube user Gabe and Garret. Their father, who also has not responded to an inquiry, wrote on Facebook:
“Great white sharks are awesome and what appears to be an 'attack' on a diving cage is not. They are temporarily blinded when they open their mouths, so when the shark went for the tuna bait on the rope it accidentally slammed into the cage.
“They can't swim backwards so it thrust forward through the cage with a diver inside. Rest assured, no one was injured and after a dramatic half minute, the diver emerged safely.”
How did this happen?
Crewmen sometimes pull roped chunks of tuna alongside cages, allowing photographers shooting through a wide gap to capture memorable images.
In this case, it appears, the crewman let the tuna dangle for too long next to the cage. The shark lunged after the bait and somehow jammed itself into the cage.
These types of incidents are exceedingly rare, but last month at Guadalupe Island, a great white shark swam vertically into an open-topped cage with four divers inside.
That shark, also, was able to get way without anybody – excluding, perhaps, the shark – being injured.
Guadalupe Island, a remote volcanic land mass 160 miles west of Baja California, is seasonal home to dozens of great white sharks. Prime viewing months are August through October.