Great white sharks are not known for their forgiving demeanor. This is why most photographers will encase themselves in elaborate shark-proof cages before being lowered into shark-infested waters.
This shark-proof cage, though, turned out to be only mildly shark-resistant. And it could have ended much worse for the camera man who, by chance, came through the ordeal unscathed.
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The video was shot off of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula–a wild stretch of coastline notorious for extraordinary wildlife and narcotics smuggling.
The great white shark takes some bait off the end of a long pole. Up until that point, everything was going as planned. Yet the shark, as these massive creatures sometimes do, lunges at the bait. Sharks will use their body weight and momentum to maximize the damage they do with their teeth.
It was this momentum that pushed the shark into, and through the bars of the shark-proof cage.
Being inside a shark-proof cage with a shark poses a unique set of challenges. Sharks can’t swim backwards, so this one thrashes around inside the cage.
This must have come as a surprise for the cameraman who had been filming from inside the cage. A deckhand manage to open the trapdoor at the top of the cage, which is just below the surface of the water. He knows there’s a cameraman in the cage, and–for a moment–he looks like he’s going to jump in with the shark.
Yet the quick-witted photographer had dropped out of the bottom of the cage. He held on there, below the trapped shark, and waited for a safe exit. No one on deck knew this, though, and panic began to set in.
The shark was eventually swims out through the open trapdoor at the top of the cage. The creature escaped, and swam away. When everything was clear, the photographer calmly climbed back on deck.