A California man captured an unusual and harrowing encounter with a great white shark on video earlier this month, as the predator accidentally broke into the side of a dive cage and thrashed for nearly a minute as it attempted to free itself from the unexpected prison.
The clip was recorded at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, as the New York Times notes. One of the world’s premier aggregation sites for white sharks, Guadalupe regularly attracts divers who travel there with the intention of seeing these majestic predators firsthand.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 14, 2016
Chan Ming, a Shanghai-based advertising executive who also works as a scuba instructor in his spare time, is one of those people who visited Guadalupe to witness the area’s white sharks for himself. Setting out on a five-day tour from Ensenada, Mexico with roughly 20 other people, the 51-year-old Chan found himself in the water on October 5, camera in hand, when the unexpected happened.
Video of Chan’s unusual encounter was captured from the boat by a man who would identify himself only as Brian, who operates the Gabe and Garrett YouTube page, according to ABC News. In his clip, the shark can be seen leaping for a piece of tuna, barreling straight at the cage with Chan inside. In the process, the white shark inadvertently breaks through the cage bars, throwing its whole body inside. Unexpectedly trapped, the shark thrashes wildly as a tour employee moves forward to open the enclosure’s top hatch, giving the animal a method of escape. After nearly a minute, the shark emerges from the cage, disoriented and bloody, breaching through the waves as it struggles to reach the Pacific’s open waters.
— SocialUnderground (@SocialUnderGrnd) October 14, 2016
While at first glance it might appear that the white shark was acting in an overly aggressive manner, the videographer noted in his description of the incident that the species is temporarily blinded when they open their mouths to feed. Chasing the bait handler’s tuna, the shark was in actuality most likely confused by the presence of the cage. Once inside, it found itself constrained and unable to escape by its natural inability to swim backwards.
“These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage.”
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 14, 2016
Chan noted that he didn’t have time to be afraid as the shark barreled into the cage, since the entire experience unfolded so quickly. As the white shark thrashed, the cage rattled so badly that Chan couldn’t see what was happening and did not have an opportunity to photograph the melee transpiring above him.
— Travel + Adventure (@TravelNewsBit) October 2, 2016
Once the shark breached from the enclosure, making its way back into the ocean, Chan was able to swim calmly to the surface and pull himself out of the cage. With three more days of diving left on his trip, Chan was back in the water the very next day, noting that he wasn’t afraid to return to the ocean.
Much like Chan, the videographer responsible for recording the unusual encounter says that it hasn’t dimmed his love of the shark-filled waters surrounding Guadalupe, and he hopes to return to the island for another encounter with the region’s great white shark population next year.
[Featured Image by YouTube – Gabe and Garrett/Inquisitr Screengrab]