Footage of a massive, 4.5-meter-long great white shark breaching the surface of the ocean recently left an Australian Today show host momentarily speechless on air, and his reaction has since gone viral.
The shark was filmed as part of a special that aired on Discovery, as part of the network’s Shweekend 2015. For this year’s installment of Air Jaws (a regular and ongoing part of Shark Week), researchers and filmmakers used several new devices, which allowed them to get unusually close to the great white sharks they were filming off the coast of New Zealand.
— Mashable (@mashable) August 31, 2015
The first device is called the W.A.S.P (Water Armour Shark Protection), as 9 News points out, and it is essentially a mobile shark cage that allows divers to walk along the bottom of the ocean while remaining protected. A full two-meters-tall, the cage is topped by a transparent window which is surrounded by an aluminum cage that can be lifted in order to facilitate better camera angles.
In video that was shown on Today, a diver in the cage was approached from behind by a shark, which he only noticed at the last minute. According to Discovery Channel’s Jeff Kerr, who spoke with FF Journal last year, the cage offers some protection from white sharks, but it is far from impervious.
“A great white shark can smash any cage to pieces if it really wanted to but these sharks are cautious by nature. So, they’ll probably knock [the WASP] around and test it.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) August 31, 2015
The footage that really made an impression on Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, however, was captured by a vehicle known as the Hornet, within which diver Dickie Chivell was housed. Dragged along the surface, Chivell was able to film the massive great white shark as it launched itself from the ocean, just feet away from his face.
Chivell’s close encounter with the white shark was enough to leave Stefanovic speechless. After pausing for a moment, he finally expressed a sentiment that many viewers were no doubt thinking.
“I am. Never. Going. Back in the water.”
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) September 1, 2015
Wilkinson appeared just as shocked, before she and Stefanovic agreed that their local swimming pool would offer a safe enough haven from great white sharks.
[Image: Today via 9 News]