A cage diving expedition in South Africa resulted in amazing footage for one group of divers, as a great white shark came eye-to-eye with them, sinking its teeth into the bars of the protective cage surrounding the trio.
Valerio Mengoli captured the astonishing footage in August, according to Shark Attack News, while cage diving in Mossel Bay. Traveling to Seal Island in order to encounter the sharks in their natural habitat, Mengoli filmed as a crewman chummed the water, using bait to draw in a number of small fish, before a white shark arrived to investigate. Enticed by the bait, the great white was drawn closer to the boat, breaking the surface of the water as it caught hold of the lure several times, thrashing its tail violently as its dorsal fin rose through the waves.
Descending into the cage in order to observe and film the great white, the divers were brought face-to-face with the animal as the bait handler lured it near. Utilizing an underwater camera, they were able to capture amazing footage as the shark attacked the bait directly in front of them. In the most astonishing sequence, the great white bit into the cage, the force of its jaws wrenching a steel bar and leaving it bent as the animal moved away.
Cage diving with white sharks is a major business in South Africa. Earlier this month, an image of a great white captured during a dive went viral online, as The Inquisitr reported, sparking a debate over the impact of the practice. Captured at the same island as Mengoli's footage, the photo inspired some observers to express concern over the shark's proximity to the cage, questioning whether the animals could be injured when lured close for tourists.
You'll never get closer to a great white shark than this brave woman http://t.co/wVWLSSN0VW pic.twitter.com/Mgljj5hgRp
— STOMP (@stompsingapore) October 17, 2014
Speaking to National Geographic, Amanda Brewer, who captured the stunning image, noted that bait is maneuvered by handlers specifically so that the white sharks never make contact with the cage. Dr. Greg Skomal, a biologist who studies great whites for the state of Massachusetts, asserted that the possibility of sharks being injured is likely blown out of proportion.
"In my opinion, it's not likely the shark would be injured by the cage," he noted, adding, "These are remarkably tough animals. I have seen them heavily scarred up by each other, with parts having been bitten off, and they have an amazing capacity to heal."
Despite any controversy, Mengoli's six-minute video reveals that he managed to capture the great white shark's astonishing power from an angle few ever see without the safety of a cage.
[Images: Valerio Mengoli via Shark Attack News]