A marine biologist has revealed exactly what you should and shouldn’t do if you ever come face-to-face with a shark.
While the very idea of seeing a shark charging towards you while swimming in the ocean is truly the stuff of nightmares, knowing exactly what to do could just save your life.
Have you ever thought about what you might do in such a terrifying scenario?
For most, our instincts would be screaming at us to do just one thing: run (or swim) away as fast as we can.
But surprisingly, this could actually be the worst thing you could possibly do in that situation.
Shark diver and marine biologist Andriana Frangola shared a hair-raising video to TikTok earlier this week explaining what to do if you encounter a shark in the ocean.
The Hawaii based diver and marine photographer is seen in the clip under the water during a dive when a tiger shark appears and starts swimming towards her.
In order to educate her followers, she shows what happens when she starts panicking and trying to swim away as fast as she can and explains why this is a bad idea.
“If you ever see a shark, never splash and run away,” she writes in the clip.
“This makes you look like an injured prey item and will cause the shark to follow and chase you, hoping you are an easy food source.
“Which you can see as I demonstrate here. When I splash and swim away, this tiger shark continues to follow me.
“You never want to look injured or compromised around sharks. You want to make sure you look like a fellow predator.”
The diver explains that instead of swimming away, a person should try and stand up to the shark and make eye contact with it.
As a last resort, she suggests playing a hand on the shark’s head and push down.
“So, instead of running away, turn and face the shark. Make eye contact and stand your ground.
“And if necessary, push firmly down on top of the shark’s head. Following through to ensure they do not turn back.
“Exit the water as calmly and quickly as possible.”
She goes on to warn her followers not to purposely attempt to dive with sharks and to only use this trick as a last resort.
Andriana also urges everyone to go with a professional guide if they wish to dive with sharks.
Earlier this week, Sydneysider Lauren O’Neill, 29, suffered serious injuries in a bull shark attack after she went swimming near a private wharf at Elizabeth Bay.
The incident occurred at 7.45pm and caused her to almost lose her right leg, which witnesses said was visibly “trailing behind her” as she frantically tried to get out of the water.
Ms O’Neill suffered “serious injuries” but hero surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital managed to save the limb.
The apex predators are rife in the harbour this time of year, feeding off surface-dwelling fish like salmon, bonito and mackerel tuna.
In the day they lurk in 40m “holes” in the harbour before coming up to the surface to feed at night.
The most dangerous time to swim is as dusk or at night when bull sharks are most likely to be hunting in the shallows.
“If you do see a shark in the Harbour, I would say that 99 times out of 100, it’s going to be a bull shark,” Lawrence Chlebeck, a marine biologist and shark campaigner at Humane Society International, told news.com.au.
“We don’t want to cause undue fear because that leads to rash decision-making, but it’s true that there is a risk of shark-biting in the Harbour.”
NSW DPI shark scientist Amy Smoothey said bull sharks are most prevalent in two areas of the harbour.
These are the triangle of water between Kirribilli, Garden Island and the Opera House, and up Parramatta River near Glades Bay.
In February 2022, Simon Nellist was swimming at Little Bay when he was mauled by a shark – the first fatal attack in Sydney in 60 years.
The British expat was training for a charity swim at about 4.30pm on a February afternoon and suffered “catastrophic” injuries.
A great white measuring between 4m and 5m was responsible for the attack, which sparked the closure of all beaches in the east and south.
Then, just a week after the fatal attack, a 15-year-old boy hooked a 2.8-metre bull shark while fishing in Middle Harbour.
– With Shannon Molloy