Thu, May 17, 2007
Pilot Diverts Great White Shark
A honeymoon couple got a
little more than they bargained for when they signed up for a
helicopter ride over South Africa's Plettenberg Bay Wednesday.
Instead of a relaxing sightseeing tour, they got an exclusive front
row seat for a close encounter with a great white shark.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said pilot Glen Brown
spotted a shark in the water while flying the couple and another
passenger over the beach. It turned out to be a Great White shark
measuring more than 11 feet long and it was headed for a group of
unsuspecting surfers about 150 feet offshore, according to online
news source, Earth Times.
Brown flew his Robinson R44 towards the surfers to try and warn
them with hand gestures, but the surfers apparently thought the
pilot was just being friendly and waved back.
But when the shark closed in to about 15 feet, Brown flew his
aircraft between the shark and the surfers in an attempt to create
a diversion and herd the shark away from the surfers. The danger
was finally realized when the helicopter passengers also waved
"like mad," said Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesman. The surfers
quickly and safely made it to shore.
"The shark then began swimming away ... The pilot said he
continued to monitor the shark as it moved away until it was out of
sight and lost beneath the sea surface," said Lambinon.
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