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Australian snorkeler films tense underwater encounter with great white shark

By Ben Hooper
A curious great white shark gets uncomfortably close to a snorkeler off the coast of Australia. Screenshot: Side Tracked TV Multimedia Productions/YouTube
A curious great white shark gets uncomfortably close to a snorkeler off the coast of Australia. Screenshot: Side Tracked TV Multimedia Productions/YouTube

ESPERANCE, Australia, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A snorkeler off the coast of Australia filmed his pulse-pounding underwater encounter with a great white shark that circled him for several moments.

Ash Gibb, 29, of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, posted a video to YouTube showing his early December encounter with the apex predator while diving off Lucky Bay, on the southern coast of the province.

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"I dove down. I was in about five meters [about 16 feet] of water getting a great shot of this fish and I felt this massive thump from behind," Gibb told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Very quickly I saw the great white shoot into the picture."

Gibb said he was not protected by a cage and was "armed" only with his snorkel and GoPro camera.

The video shows the apparently curious shark swim several circles around Gibb before leaving the area.

The snorkeler said he thought it was important that he was not seen afraid of the shark.

"I just stared straight into its eyes and pointed the camera," he told 7News. "It felt that [the shark] was very calm and it didn't feel under threat so I just responded in what I felt was the most appropriate way."

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Gibb, who is working on a documentary about shark conservation, said he hopes his footage helps show people that sharks "don't eat humans on purpose. We're not their food."

"I went there to show people that they [sharks] are beautiful creatures, so there was no chance of me fleeing that situation," he said. "I was there to film. I got the opportunity. The chances of that actually happening are one in a million, so I took that opportunity and did my best to keep my hand steady, and capture it on film."

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