Stranded scuba diver circled by sharks in 'Open Water' moment

By Ben Hooper
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SATELLITE BEACH, Fla., May 23 (UPI) -- A Florida scuba diver surfaced in the Atlantic Ocean and found his boat and anchor line gone. Then the sharks showed up.

Randy Fales, 68, of Satellite Beach, said he was spearfishing Sunday about 17 miles northeast of Sebastian Inlet while his family, including two daughters, a daughter's boyfriend, three grandsons and a granddaughter, waited on a boat above.


Fales said the situation took a turn for the worse when his anchor line, which connected him both to the boat and to a floating jug meant to mark his location, separated.

He said he surfaced to find the boat was gone and the jug had been carried off by powerful winds.

"The thought of the movie Open Water, you just think, wow, this is just like the movie," Fales told Florida Today.

The diver's experiences started to further echo the plot of the 2003 film when a 6-to-8-foot shark started circling him below the water about six minutes after he first surfaced.

"He kept getting bolder, a little bolder, a little closer. ... The closest he got is he rubbed my leg with one of his pectoral fins," Fales told ABC News. "I would always go into a little bit of a defense mode and he would veer away."


Fales said a second shark appeared and started circling from a greater distance about an hour after he first found himself stranded.

The diver said he used his spear gun to attempt to ward off the animals, but he didn't load the weapon because he didn't want to injure or kill the sharks.

"They're such majestic animals to begin with, but it was kind of cool seeing them and seeing them that close," he said.

Fales was picked up by a boat about an hour and 20 minutes into his ordeal.

"I said, 'Boy, am I glad to see you,'" he said.

Fales said he doesn't believe his experience was "that scary" and he was hoping to return to scuba diving as early as the following weekend.

He said he doesn't know the species of the sharks that circled him, but he doesn't believe they were great white sharks or tiger sharks.

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