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Jaw-dropping Drone Footage of Sharks With Swimmers

No one is harmed! Just lots of close calls!
howchoo   (467)
September 29, 2023
27 minutes


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More and more beaches have implemented the use of drones to keep swimmers and surfers safe from sharks. Drones can spot sharks gathering near the beach, and the drone operators can call in the swimmers.

Occasionally, however, these cool drones capture some pretty terrifying shots of sharks (sometimes as big as great whites) coming dangerously close to surfers or swimmers off the coast.

As scary as that sounds, remember that your odds of getting attacked by a shark while swimming at the beach are around 1 in 3.75 million. (For reference, that’s much higher than your chance of getting struck by lightning!)

Please note that in each drone sighting listed, NO ONE was harmed. There are no images of anyone being harmed by sharks below.

1 – Western Australia (Great White Shark)

Crystal clear waters and an excellent drone camera combine to bring you one of the best shots of a Great White shark heading straight for a group of kayakers and one swimmer off the coast of Australia.

What happened?

In the video of the incident, you can clearly see the Great White shark circling the kayakers. Then, he takes a dangerous turn toward the surfer. Those in the kayaks yell out to the surfer to get away.

And thankfully the surfer is able to ride the next wave back to shore.

2 – Maldives (Nurse Sharks)

This might be the craziest scene we’ve seen of someone swimming near sharks. The sharks surrounding the woman in the ocean are nurse sharks.

What happened?

While it’s hard to imagine someone intentionally jumping into the water with sharks swarming, that’s exactly what Instagram user ShadowPalmMaldives did—all for this incredible footage.

Nurse sharks are some of the most harmless sharks and are not known to attack humans. Still…who would have the courage to float around hundreds of them?!

3 – Eastern Australia (Great White Shark)

Beautiful drone footage captures a curious Great White shark approaching two children swimming on the shore. The children and man on the shore seem pretty unsuspecting and likely don’t even know the shark is so close.

What happened?

Like most encounters with sharks, the sharks appear to be more curious than threatening to the children. While the shark does get close to the kids playing, it eventually veers off toward the breakers and looks elsewhere for his next meal. The children were fine.

4 – New South Wales (Great White Shark)

Unsuspecting surfer Matt Wilkinson has the closest encounter of his life off of Ballina in New South Wales. World champion surfer, Wilkinson, heard a splash and felt something odd. Then he stopped and looked back.

What happened?

A lifesaving drone program called Surf Life Saving NSW spotted the Great White shark eying Wilkinson. The drone was able to broadcast to Wilkinson to head back to the beach. He made it safely back to shore.

In the drone video, you can see just how close the shark came to biting on Wilkinson’s feet before it swam away.

5 – Plattenburg Bay, South Africa (Great White Shark)

Sea Rescue South Africa (NSRI), a non-profit organization, released a Twitter warning to surfers and swimmers in the ocean off of the Capetown coast. The tweet included this drone footage of a Great White shark circling a group of surfers in the ocean.

What happened?

This encounter went viral and stirred up fears about sharks along the beach. No one was injured in the event, but it did cause the South African officials to close the shoreline until the shark activity subsided.

It’s amazing how oblivious the surfers were to the shark while it swam right underneath of them!

6 – Palm Beach, Australia

Referred to as the Gold Coast of Australia, the Palm Beach area is popular with surfers for its wicked waves. But, as you can see, there’s something else that’s wicked lurking just underneath of them.

What happened?

A drone was dispatched to keep an eye on the coastline after several surfers reported spotting sharks in the water. Sure enough, the drone spotted the shark circling a group of surfers.

No one was hurt, but one surfer had an almost fatal near miss when the shark swiped at his board.

7 – Pismo Beach, California

Groups of surfers off the beautiful coast of Pismo Beach in California are caught unaware as a pair of 10-foot sharks come out of nowhere right below them. (The Stork captured this incredible footage on their DJI Phantom 3 drone.)

What happened?

While this was a surprise for the drone operators, it wasn’t completely surprising to see at least a shark or two in the water. To see one so close to the surfer…well, that was scary! Luckily, the surfer caught a wave to shore and escaped unharmed.

8 – Western Australia (Tiger Sharks)

While no human was in danger during this video, this is some incredible drone footage captured by Eco Abrolhos. Nearly 100 tiger sharks swarm and feast on a dead humpback whale.

What happened?

We can only imagine what it must have been like to be on one of those tourist boats and spot the massacre of a lifetime right below! No one was in danger; though, we’re certain that danger was felt by those there.

Once the sharks finished eating, some people on the boat decided to try touching them. The sharks were very docile (having just eaten) and allowed themselves to be touched.

9 – Miami Beach, Florida (Hammerhead Shark)

Jason McIntosh, a Miami resident, was casually shooting some drone footage of a swimmer at the beach when he got the surprise of his life! Hammerheads are rare sightings, and it’s even rarer to see one so close to the shore.

What happened?

Shark attacks by hammerheads are extremely rare, so the swimmer was in relatively little-to-no danger. The swimmer was not harmed but was sure in for a shock when he finally saw just how close he was to the shark.

He was only about 40 feet away from shore at the time and gave an ominous thumbs-up to the camera as he was swimming.

10 – Kiami Beach, Australia

On Kiami Beach in southern Australia, a drone operator caught a shark circling dangerously close to some unsuspecting swimmers enjoying the good weather.

What happened?

David Finlay, the drone operator, called the surf lifesavers on the phone and notified them immediately of the situation. The lifeguards then notified the swimmers to come in immediately, and no one was harmed.

The surfers caught the next wave into the shore. Their dangling feet came awfully close to the swarming sharks, however.

11 – Florida Coast (Blacktip Sharks)

Sharks, like birds, migrate naturally to find the right water temperature for breeding. A group of surfers happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when this group of blacktip sharks circled nearby.

What happened?

Though there were literally hundreds of sharks surrounding the surfers, none of the sharks showed any threat to the people. They appeared to be more curious about the surfers than anything else.

This kind of response is common with sharks, who generally don’t attack humans for food.

12 – Pismo Beach, California

Wait. Is that seaweed? Or is it a shark? This drone footage was captured just off the coast of Pismo Beach in sunny California—a popular spot for surfers year-round.

What happened?

The surfers initially claimed that they thought the black spots under the water were seaweed. It wasn’t until they saw the frightening drone footage that they learned how close they came to a pair of rather large sharks.

None of the surfers were harmed or attacked.

13 – The Bahamas

The Bahamas are known as one of the best places to swim in the ocean. Sometimes danger does lurk below, however.

Here, a small boy jumped into the water to swim. A second later, a drone flown by Artem Tkachenko, captured four sharks heading right for the unsuspecting boy.

What happened?

The drone operator yelled out to the boy to run as soon as he noticed the sharks on the drone video. Luckily, the boy heard the man in time and swam quickly to safety. At one moment, the sharks were only about five feet away from the boy.

14 – Santa Cruz, California

NBC News

A large shark is seen circling a swimmer who decided to swim out far from the coastline at New Brighten State Beach in California.

What happened?

The swimmer apparently was aware of the danger around him. He spotted the signs on the beach and heard the drone operator notify him of the shark situation. He probably remembered just how unlikely a shark attack really is for a human. No harm came to him.

15 – Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Tom Gruber/Vimeo

Often when you’re snorkeling and swimming with whale sharks and rays, you don’t get to see just how incredible it looks from a birds-eye view.

What happened?

For these lucky swimmers, a drone just off the coast of Isla Mujeres captured the breathtaking scene in all its glory! What makes this sighting even more special is that whale sharks are rarely seen in groups in the wild, even if they are the largest fish in the sea.

16 – Quiz time: shark or dolphin?

Researchers at Southern Cross University and NSW Department of Primary Industries have been monitoring the beaches off the coast of New South Wales in south-eastern Australia with drones for a number of years.

They note that most “shark” sightings, particularly those that appear to be close to swimmers and surfers, are actually dolphins.

So can you tell the difference in the above image? What do you think? Dolphin…or a shark?

Which is it?

The researchers at Southern Cross University say that this is most likely a dolphin. (It’s even hard for them to tell sometimes when looking from the height of the drone.)

Maybe this will alleviate some fears about sharks swarming near beaches for some!

17 – Malibu, California

TheMalibuArtist is known for capturing some incredible shots with his ocean drones. But even he couldn’t have known just how scary the footage would be as his drone spied a great white shark getting very close to a family of kayakers.

What happened? 

As he explains in the video, he was able to warn the kayakers of the imminent danger below. They stopped paddling, which caused the shark to lose interest and swim off eventually. No one was hurt, but that family sure does have the story of a lifetime to tell.

18 – Miami, Florida

Tiger sharks are rarely seen anywhere near beaches. They tend not to get too close to shore. But drone operator Kenny Melendez, as reported by CBS Miami, was in for a shock when he saw a large shadow near this swimmer just off the beach.

What happened?

The drone got closer to the man until the operator realized it was a shark. The large tiger shark weaved in and between swimmers along the beach for about 10 minutes before heading back out to sea. Luckily no one was hurt. Tiger sharks are considered the most likely shark species to attack a human.

19 – The Bahamas

It’s amazing just how clear the water is off the coast of the Bahamas. The water is so clear that drones can easily see straight to the bottom of the ocean floor. So when The Cub Life flew his drone near the beaches, it was easy to spot this shark eyeing a swimmer.

What happened?

The swimmer looks up at the drone. The drone operator warns the swimmer of the danger. Luckily, the swimmer makes it safely back to shore unharmed. The shark appeared to be more curious than anything else.

20 – Bondi Beach, Australia

This shark seen approaching swimmer at Bondi beach in Australia may look small, but even a small shark can do some major damage and prove lethal. (Bondi Beach is a favorite destination for snorkelers and surfers, as shown in the beautiful footage of Bondi Nation.)

What happened?

Sharks are fairly common sightings at Bondi Beach in Australia—so common, in fact, that swimmers know that they will likely get close to at least one when they head out in the ocean there. The shark locals, including a nurse shark and a hammerhead shark, haven’t been known to attack humans. So no one was hurt.


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