Incredible drone footage captures the moment a great white shark swims right below a group of unsuspecting surfers as they wait to catch a wave.
The fearsome predator, estimated to be 10 feet long, can be seen cruising between the six surfers and a lone kayaker who have no idea that a lethal attack could be just seconds away.
The ferocious killer was captured in the remarkable footage shot by a teenager filming surfers at Plettenberg Bay in Western Province, South Africa, in just six foot deep water.
The silent animal goes undetected for 25 seconds until a kayaker in a green canoe spots the shark’s fin break the surface and realises the danger lurking beneath them.
He urgently warns his surfer pal whose legs are just feet away from the shark’s jaws.
The pal suddenly realises he’s about to be attacked as the brave kayaker appears to push his canoe forward to create enough of a barrier between the man-eater and his friend.
This distracts the shark long enough for the surfer to gain vital seconds to escape.
The shark breaks away, giving the group of surfers and kayaker a chance to catch the waves and head back to shore as schoolboy Zachary Berman captures it all by drone.
The youngster’s dad had already alerted life guards who had begun clearing the beach and had entered the water to help the group at Plettenberg Bay in case the shark had decided to attack.
Nature enthusiast Zachary from Cape Town, South Africa, was on the beach with his father using his flying machine to film surfers when he captured the footage about 50 yards off shore.
Zachary said: “We normally fly the drone to capture nature and I saw the shark and followed it and when I saw how close it had got the surfers I told my dad to go get them out of the water.
“He was on his way to get them out but by then the shark was moving quite fast and when the shark had actually gone underneath their boards the Sea Rescue hadn’t arrived yet.
“It was really scary standing there with the remote control watching this shark heading towards the surfers. You don’t really know what to do in that situation and I just kept on filming it”.
When the surfers and the kayaker got back to the shore Zachary showed them the footage of the great white stalking them.
He said: “They were flabbergasted! They were completely in shock”.
National Sea Rescue Institute press spokesman Craig Lambinon, who released the drone footage, said they were appealing to all surfers, paddle boarders and bathers to be on full alert for great whites.
He said in a media statement: “Those using the water around the Southern and Eastern Cape need to be cautious due to a high number of great white shark sightings and close encounters at present.
“The increase of sharks at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals that take advantage of natural prey like seals and fish coming close in shore at this time.
“A large amount of shark sightings and some encounters have been reported close in shore along the Plettenberg Bay coastline over the past few weeks and on Sunday and with this sighting.
“Drone footage of a large great white shark in close proximity to surfers in Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday highlights the urgency of this safety appeal as they are in very close now” he said.
Sarah Waries of City of Cape Town Shark Spotters programme said: “The behaviour seen in this drone footage shows the shark is aware of the surfers and the great white is investigating the surfers.
“It is important for people to remember that great white sharks are naturally inquisitive Apex predators and that although shark bites are rare, water users must understand the inherent risk associated with sharing the ocean with these animals and change their behaviour accordingly to avoid encountering sharks”.
The NSRI carry emergency medical shark kits on all their sea rescue craft and rescue vehicles and their medics carry emergency medical shark kits in their private cars to respond quickly.
Plettenberg Bay resident Michael Herbst said on social media: “The drone footage is just mental and these guys said they had no idea the great white was there until one of them yelled “shark”.
“They said they came out the water so fast and the beach was cleared by the lifeguards. For these surfers it was their lucky day and they will never forget what happened out there as it is all on film”.
In the last 10 years there have been 12 people attacked and killed in shark attacks in South Africa with five by great whites, four by bull sharks, one by a tiger shark and two by unknown sharks.
There is an average of six shark attacks a year in South Africa with 15% proving fatal and the main culprit is the biggest of them all the great white of which there are thought to be 300 to 500 along the coast.