Drone footage shows the tense moment a shark swam within inches of a professional surfer in Australia
- Australian world championship surfer Matt Wilkinson came within inches of a five-foot-long
sharkwhile paddling in from a surf at Sharpes Beach off the coast of Ballina, just north of Sydney.
- Video footage of the incident was recorded by an overhead drone, which was dispatched to warn surfers of dangers in the water in real-time.
- Drone operator Beau Monks told Surf Life Saving NSW, a community water rescue organization, that the shark "came out of nowhere" and quickly jolted away from Wilkinson.
Drone footage from
Australian world championship surfer Matt Wilkinson was paddling in from a surf at Sharpes Beach off the coast of Ballina, just north of Sydney, when he came across a five-foot-long shark on Wednesday, according to a press release from Surf Life Saving NSW, a community water rescue organization that recorded the encounter.
It remains unclear exactly what type of shark it was in the water. Surf Life Saving NSW called it a "white shark," while The Guardian and Reuters said it was a great white shark.
The drone footage, which was being filmed to warn surfers of dangers in the water in real-time, shows the shark swimming close to Wilkinson before quickly darting away.
Drone operator Beau Monks said the shark "came out of nowhere" before approaching Wilkinson.
"I was tracking it and notified the lifeguards and used the speaker on the drone to get everyone out of the water. Within 10 seconds it was at the surfer and five seconds later it was gone," he told Surf Life Saving NSW.
Monks told Australia's ABC News that he wasn't sure why the shark decided to turn away from Wilkinson.
"It could have been something as simple as just bumping into his leg rope, or it might have been the drone. Marine creatures have been known to dart away when the drone does come over," he said.
Wilkinson told Surf Life Saving NSW that he felt safe knowing there was a drone watching out for him on the water, and having surfed his entire life, he figured the shark wasn't that interested in him.
" I'm just glad today the shark reconsidered at the last second," he said.
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