A frightening video captured off the Mexican coast has made its way online, depicting a group of divers unexpectedly cornered by a great white shark when the massive predator bit through their air supply before finding itself stuck in the cage with them.
The clip was filmed in September, according to the Huffington Post, but only posted to YouTube this week. Taken off the coast of Guadalupe Island, one of the world’s most notorious hotspots for great white sharks, it was recorded by Peter Maguire, a diver who was situated in a separate cage.
Diver Katie Yonker, writing for Bluewater Travel, noted that the excursion started off just like any other, but things quickly took a turn when a 13- to 15-foot-long female white shark approached the submerged cage. Swimming above the enclosure, the shark bit into a hose that supplied the divers with air, severing it. As a divemaster adjusted the equipment to prevent the group from completely losing their air supply, the white shark returned, striking the top part of the cage and finding itself unexpectedly trapped, as Yonker recalled.
“The shark swam vertically down into the balcony of the cage, made a sharp turn, and swam right through the bars of the cage. She thrashed around for several seconds and in the process got further lodged into the bars of the cage.”
Yonker managed to film the experience from within her cage and noted that she feared the enclosure would break apart, leaving her and the other divers vulnerable. Eventually, the group was able to make their way past the white shark, escaping the cage to the safety of the boat above. Once they were safely away from the trapped animal, the boat’s crew were able to tie a rope around the shark’s tail before lowering the enclosure, essentially holding the predator in place while removing it. Largely unharmed, the white shark was able to swim away under its own power, as Mashable notes.
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While frightening, the video isn’t the first of its kind to be released recently. Last week, another video of a similar encounter off Guadalupe Island spread online, depicting a white shark as it rammed the side of a diving cage. As the Inquisitr noted, the shark was likely unaware of the enclosure as it lunged for a piece of bait, temporarily blinded by its natural defense mechanisms. The shark burst through the side of the cage and found itself trapped, however, as white sharks cannot swim backwards. After several moments, the animal was able to escape the cage through an open hatch, though it had clearly been injured by the experience.
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Guadalupe Island is one of the world’s most well-known aggregation sites for the species, alongside Cape Cod and South Africa. Regularly featured on Shark Week, it is also home to some of the most imposing sharks ever observed by researchers. Last year, video of a notoriously large white shark named Deep Blue spread online after it was filmed at Guadalupe.
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Maguire and the other divers noted that while they felt fear during their experience, they were also sad to see the shark in such distress. Looking for a silver lining, he acknowledged that he “can only hope that we can learn from this video and improve on great white shark diving best practices and improve on cage construction,” thereby offering better protection not only to divers but also to the sharks that so command their attention.