Have You Seen This? Close call with a Great White

Posted August 2

SOUTH AFRICA — Movies play on our greatest fears.

There are horror movies like “Scream” and “Halloween” that make us believe some sinister entity is about to pop up right behind us while we’re alone in our dark, empty homes. There are films about going mad in seclusion. And then there’s “Jaws,” which has made everyone feel unsafe swimming in open water since 1975.

We can add this YouTube video to the never-going-swimming-again mix, too.

On Aug. 27 of 2015, Johan Potgieter went spearfishing with friends in Arniston near Cape Town, South Africa, accompanied by Francios Smuts, Rene' Nel and Erik Fourie.

On the quest for some reef fish, Potgieter got his equipment — including a rolling camera — and dived down, even though the water was cloudy and an overcast day meant for low visibility in the water.

After diving, Potgieter took a look around, writing in the video description, “…when I leveled out on the bottom, I looked first to my right, and then as I looked to my left, the Great White was right next to me. That could quite easily been the end of me.”

As a defensive measure, Potgieter prodded at the shark with his spear. Not liking the action, the shark “sped off, made a sharp turn, dropped his pectoral fins (very aggressive behavior), made a sharp 180-degree turn and came straight for me.”

What happened next will make your heart pound to watch.

“The shark was clearly now in attack mode,” Potgieter wrote. “I had to show some dominance back to him to avoid being bitten, I thrust my spear gun forward with all my might and managed to give him a good prod, causing him to veer off again and disappeared into the gloom. At this point I was out of air and made my assent as fast as I could, trying not to display any signs of panic.”

Potgieter makes it to the surface, not without being followed by the Great White, but he was mostly concerned with warning his fellow divers. Luckily, everyone in the crew made it out of the water and into the boat safely.

Be sure to watch the video to get a better sense of the remarkable encounter.


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