Harrowing photographs have emerged from a beach in Australia, as a 10-foot-long shark was spotted stalking a surfer, who now admits he had no clue how close he was to the great white.
The encounter took place along a stretch of beach at Esperance, in the state of Western Australia, as the Telegraph notes, a site known for a string of shark attacks in recent years. Andrew Johnston, a 38-year-old local surfer, heard warnings to come to shore, but ignored them. He now says that he did not realize just how close the shark, identified as a great white, was to him.
“At the time I didn’t think it was that big a shark and that close, but I did lose sight of it when it came right up behind me,” he said. “It was a lot more intense than I thought it was at the time; obviously it was a very close call. I was very lucky; you don’t get much closer than that without getting touched up by them.”
— 720 ABC Perth (@720perth) October 31, 2014
Frits De Bruyn, who was vacationing in the area, managed to capture photos of Johnston’s encounter with the great white, which happened on September 21st, as the Daily Mail notes.
“We were at a lookout and we saw a shadow in the water. It became evident it was shark, and everyone started shouting. There was about a dozen surfers and paddle boarders in the water,” De Bruyn related. “He followed him to shore for a bit… he was only a body-length behind him.”
Just two weeks after Johnston’s close call with the white shark, another surfer was attacked east of Esperance. Sean Pollard, 23, lost his left forearm and right hand when he was mauled by a great white, as the Inquisitr reported at the time.
Despite the possibility of danger, Johnston maintains a healthy respect for the sharks that share the ocean with his fellow surfers.
“If you’re going to say a shark is a threat every time you see one, well that’s not true,” he said. “They’re doing their thing and we’re doing our thing. I probably have a higher risk of breaking my neck on that reef than the shark causing me harm.”
Undaunted by his close encounter with the shark, Johnston returned to the surf shortly after the great white swam away.
[Image: Frits De Bruyn via the Telegraph]