Ever wondered what it must feel like to be in the ocean inches away from a humongous great white shark as it propels itself in your direction with all its might?
Yeah – us neither.
However, that was the very situation one diver found himself in after being descended into the water in a tiny cage, when he was forced to swim for his life away from the powerful predator in a programme airing for Shark Week.
It’s important to note that the diver did survive his encounter – but from the footage, it looks like he did so by the skin of his teeth.
In a clip from Discovery’s Great White Open Ocean, the man is just below the surface of the ocean in the see-through box as a 16-foot great white shark encircles him.
After tapping on the cage’s wall to try and get the shark’s attention, he says: “Give this five or 10 minutes”… before the situation escalates beyond anyone’s expectations.
The diver notes that the shark is ‘staying deep’ and then coming up and ‘hitting’ the box, saying: ‘I’ve already had two bumps now that have been pretty deliberate. They look like they’re getting a little bit more fired up.’
However, when the shark comes up to knock the cage once more, the diver appears taken off guard, asking: ‘What was that?’ while looking around.
After ducking his head back in the water to take a peek, the shark is filmed ascending towards the cage, opening its jaw wide to try and take a bite out of it.
Above the surface, the camera captures the shark breaking through the cage, prompting screams and an influx of swearing as the diver is plunged into the water.
At first, he tries to remain afloat by holding onto the remainder of the cage, while the shark grapples with a rope caught in his mouth.
However, he then realises what he needs to do as he lets go of the box, swimming at speed towards the boat in a desperate bid to survive.
Speaking on CNN, Jeff Kurr, the producer and director of Shark Week, recollected being in a boat nearby when the horrifying incident occurred, saying: ‘It’s something I’ll never forget. I’ve been doing Shark Week for 32 years, I’ve never seen anything like that, an encounter like that.’
He continued: ‘The fact that we captured it on camera – I actually thought he was dead. When a 16-foot great white shark comes at you like that, it’s almost something that’s unsurvivable, but somehow Jimi, who was in the cage there, he managed to survive it.’
Jeff revealed that the diver did sustain ‘a scratch’ – with the producer saying the slight scrape was ‘unbelievable’, after being chased by ‘a shark that big coming that fast with an open mouth like that’.
‘He’s an awesome in the water guy, he’s a great water guy, a great swimmer and all that stuff. A very experienced shark expert, so even with those things going for him, that was really hard to watch… even watching it, the replays of it, it still breaks my heart, because like you say I was right there and I felt completely helpless,’ he said.
‘There was really nothing we could do to help him – he just had to swim for it.’
Shark Week is airing on Discovery.