An Australian photographer came within inches of being devoured by a 16-foot-long Great White shark, but managed to capture some of the scariest, close-up pictures of the fish yet.
The incredible shots include the fearsome beast biting into a metal cage with its razor-sharp teeth and others where the photographer’s dangling camera and arm are just inches away from the shark’s glistening, sharp jaws.
Commercial abalone diver Luke Thom, 26, came across this incredible experience at the Neptune Islands off the coast of South Australia, according to News.com.au.
The scary pictures were taken when the 298-pound beast became interested and curious about photographic equipment dangling in the water, emerged out of the water, and started to swim toward it.
“I was watching Andrew Fox taking these incredible photos of Great White sharks so I thought I’d try to get a shot of him getting his photo because of how close he gets to them with the fish-eye camera,” Thom told News.com.au.
“Holy [expletive] is probably the most common reaction. I see a story and a moment in the photo. It’s not like watching a video. You can look at a photo and imagine what is going on.
“These sharks are pretty incredible animals and they need protection and minimal human impact,” he said.
The North and South Neptunes, two islands that make up the Neptunes are home to male Great Whites, 16-foot-long sharks that live here throughout the year.
Seal pups are born here between December to January, but enter the ocean only between April to August. That’s when giant female Great Whites that can measure up to 19 feet long enter the area. Sharks feed on seals.
The pristine and rugged islands are famous for shark tourism—shark adventures and expeditions, according to Rodenyfox.
The risk involved in what Thom managed to capture can be gauged by the number and nature of shark attacks that happen off the Australian coast.
There were 27 shark attacks in Australia last year, according to Taronga Conservation Society Australia, CNN reports.
On Feb. 17, a shark attacked a surfer at Australia’s Byron Bay, the third at the scene this year.
Emergency services were called near Belongil Beach after a 41-year-old man, Sam Edwardes, was bitten on the leg by a shark, according to ABC.
“We didn’t realize until we were on the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg so there was a lot of blood,” said Edwardes’s housemate, who was surfing along with him at the time.
“As soon as my mate got out the back he sat up on his board and instantly a shark smashed from underneath … knocking him clean off his board,” the housemate said.
The beach was closed for 24 hours and the man was airlifted in serious but stable condition to Gold Coast University Hospital after being treated at the scene.