An incredibly brave diver pulled a fishing hook from a shark’s mouth and the whole thing was caught on camera.
As a SCUBA diver, I can tell you that being underwater with only a tank keeping you alive is quite an intense experience. There’s a lot of things you have to remember, and the most important rule is that you can’t hold your breath while diving.
Well, it’s a good thing none of us are watching this video while SCUBA diving, because seeing this very brave diver pull a hook from a shark’s mouth is definitely a hold-your-breath moment.
Diver and marine biologist Leigh Cobb drew in an oceanic white tip shark with a fish before dislodging the hook.
I think a lot of people would happily watch sharks from a distance while SCUBA diving – but not many would be brave enough to hand-feed one that has been described as ‘the most dangerous of all sharks’ by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. And very, very few would risk hurting this most dangerous shark by pulling a hook out of its mouth. Hats off to Leigh.
The diver placed her hand on the shark’s nose before pulling out the piece of metal, and she said that by doing that the shark was momentarily hypnotised because all of a shark’s senses are at the front of its face.
The 38-year-old is from Britain but now lives in Palm Beach, Florida. She believes that in freeing the hook she saved the shark’s life.
The hook was stopping it from eating, so I think I could well have saved its life.
They’re usually quite a skittish breed of shark but this one realised I wasn’t a predator. Baiting it with food also helped.
Oceanic white tip sharks are said to be largely solitary animals, but they are scavengers and will group together in a feeding frenzy if an opportunity of a meal presents itself.
Leigh works running trips from Florida to the Bahamas for the public, a route that takes about 50 hours by boat. On the trip, she introduces guests to the wonderful world of sharks, showing people the predators aren’t an embodiment of the Jaws franchise.
She spoke about her guests’ experiences on the trips, saying:
They realise after coming on one of our trips just how wonderful these animals really are and they also see first hand how important sharks are to the ecosystem.
Everyone thinks trees are important to the ecosystem, but 70 per cent of the world’s oxygen comes from the sea.
I think I’ll stick to watching from a safe distance and not drawing the attention of any sharks ever, but Leigh would have made David Attenborough proud when she helped out the injured shark.
Let’s hope that particular oceanic white tip shark takes on a new, Finding Nemo-like view of humans and spreads the word to its shark friends that humans are friends not food.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.