When Matt Woods’s Mavic 2 Zoom took off from his Bondi Beach balcony, the amateur Australian pilot was hoping to add a nice new ocean video to his collection. Instead, the drone captured a spear-fisherman’s gripping 30-minute battle to fend off an aggressive shark until help arrived.
Drone video details a fisherman’s battle with mako shark
Woods, 36, didn’t wait long last Sunday afternoon to realize his footage wouldn’t be the normal Bondi Beach sampling of swimmers, surfers, and people playing in the shore break. Within minutes of his 4 p.m. drone launch, Woods identified and began shooting video of a fisherman swimming in the water, and using his speargun to battle what the pilot believes was a large, aggravated mako shark.
“I spotted the shark straight away as there was a big bait ball of fish and as I got closer I could see it was also circling the diver in the water,” Woods told the UK’s Daily Mail. “The diver was fending the shark off and poking it with his spear gun. The shark then went after his float that is attached to the diver. He was charging it and trying to bite it, thrashing it about.”
Woods didn’t allow the drama of filming the fisherman’s live-and-death struggle to conflict with the urgency of doing something about it. He snatched up his girlfriend’s cell phone to alert local lifeguards to the situation, and then went back to observing and rooting for the plucky diver to keep the shark at bay.
As lifeguards cleared people closer to the shore from the water, a jet ski was dispatched to locate and rescue the struggling diver, ultimately arriving about 30 minutes after Woods called. The pilot filmed the entire battle, a cut-down portion of which is available online.
Drone video pilot doubles as alert-sounding rescuer
Woods says his previous flights over the ocean have picked up the odd whale and other visible sea life, but never before a shark (still less a human’s ultimately successful battle with a shark). Once the drama of his remarkable sighting had ended with the diver getting back ashore, Woods says he felt satisfaction at having participated in the happy outcome beyond just filming.
“I felt as if we helped as best we could,” he says. “We got on the phone to the lifeguards straight away… while I stayed over the shark on my drone the whole time so we could guide them in. I was pretty happy once the lifeguard came out and I could see the diver had managed to scramble onto the rocks and reef.”
Presumably, the lucky spear fisherman will eventually get a look at Woods’s drone video of his exploit, and perhaps find a way to make contact that Woods tried but was unable to establish once it was over.
“I went looking for the diver after to try and meet him,” he says, “but couldn’t find him.”
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