Great white shark crashes cage diver

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see a great white shark up close from inside a dive cage, this video will make you think twice.

This is what happens when the shark breaches inside a diving cage. Yes, inside the case while a single diver was inside — and somehow survived.

Or, as Gabe and Garrett, who normally post videos about a pair of “all-American boys in California,” warn: “This may not be appropriate for our younger viewers.”

This video is from a trip to Guadalupe Island, and it is, well, terrifying.

“On a recent great white shark cage diving trip we experienced a very rare event, a shark breaching the side of the cage. What might appear to be an aggressive great white shark trying to attack the cage, this is not the case. These awesome sharks are biting at large chunks of tuna tied to a rope. When a great white shark lunges and bites something, it is temporarily blinded. They also cannot swim backwards. So this shark lunged at the bait, accidentally hit the side of the cage, was most likely confused and not able to swim backwards, it thrust forward and broke the metal rail of the cage. There was a single diver inside the cage. He ended up outside the bottom of the cage, looking down on two great white sharks. The diver is a very experienced dive instructor, remained calm, and when the shark thrashed back outside the cage, the diver calmly swam back up and climbed out completely uninjured. The boat crew did an outstanding job, lifting the top of the cage, analyzing the frenzied situation, and the shark was out after a few long seconds. Everyone on the boat returned to the cages the next day, realizing this was a very rare event. The boat owner, captain, and crew are to be commended for making what could’ve been a tragic event into a happy ending. I’m sure God and luck had a bit to do with it too!”

The video sparked a number of questions, to which Gabe and Garrett responded in detail on YouTube:

“1. The people asking if there’s anyone in the cage are the passengers, not the crew. The cages hold up to four people each, they have it listed on each air hose who is in the cage and exactly how they long they’ve been in the water. The passengers on the deck come and go and some happened on this scene from above and are asking out loud, please don’t confuse that with the crew diligently trying to get the diver out in the safest way possible.

2. There was blood spotted from the sharks gills, this was only noticed on the video afterwards, at the frenzied moment, which happened so quick, they didn’t notice and at the time a diver was still in/under the cage, which was their focus. Please don’t take this as them not caring about any injuries to the shark. These people absolutely love sharks, a marine biologist was on board, they want to provide awareness of these amazing great white sharks and have people experience them and understand they are to be protected and not feared in the “Jaws” sense. They usually swim around the cages, curiously, and do not attack the divers or cages. The blood could be from thrashing in the metal cage, possibly the tuna, but it was evaluated by a biologist and determined to be a minor wound and the shark was spotted the next day totally fine. Sharks can be very aggressive with each other and fight, and even the large prey they attack is a very physical thing, so they are quite tough and often get scraped and gouged and bloodied and it’s just another day for them.

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3. It is understandable that some people feel differently, and that’s fine and worthy of discussion, but these boat operators love these sharks and their overall mission is to bring awareness and protection to them. Often the best way to make positive changes in awareness and protection is experiencing the subject to be protected. These are amazing creatures, they are awesome to see in person, they will not attack and eat you, they are fearless and curious,, they are at the top of the food chain but humans are not part of that chain. They are listed as an endangered species, so awareness and protection are vital to their survival and experiencing them brings awe and appreciation. This video does not show a shark attack, it shows an extremely rare accident and the shark unintentionally hit the cage, has no capability to reverse, so instead of turning sideways it thrust through the cage. The power shown is incredible. The diver was experienced and although you can’t plan for this kind of event, did the right thing, did not panic, and the crew made all the right decisions, opening the top, checking to see if they should attempt to pull the diver by the rope or give the shark a moment to free itself up out of the cage and then evaluate the best way to bring up the diver. They knew who the diver was, that he was there, from the video perspective you couldn’t see bottom of the cage but they could, the water was clear, and they helped bring him out safely. Could it have been worse? Of course, horrible accidents happen, flocks of birds get struck in jet airplane engines, but landing safely takes skill, experience, and a certain amount of luck.

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4. The cage diving operators, who work with the government and the marine sanctuary there are collectively reviewing and making appropriate changes to cage design and bait techniques. They want this to be as safe as possible for divers and for sharks. The goal is shark awareness and preservation through experience. These people sincerely have the best interest of the sharks in mind and work with non-profit organizations and agencies and sanctuaries to best make this a positive thing for the sharks. The sharks are not “fed”. The sharks are there naturally at Guadalupe Island in big numbers in the summer and fall to feed on the seals and elephant seals that congregate there. That is their main prey. The chunks of tuna are tied to a rope to lure them even closer to the cages. The sharks come to the cages out of curiosity regardless, but this assures more frequency as the divers rotate in and out of the cages. The bait is yanked away when the shark goes to bite it because they don’t want them just there to find an easy way to get tuna meat. At times they do grab the meat, but not substantially enough to make it any kind of food source.

5. Lots of comments on “just leave the sharks alone”. And that’s a debatable position to take, no doubt. But the “leaving them alone” strategy has ended up with the great white sharks on the endangered species list. A huge danger to these sharks is illegal culling for their fins. Having several cage dive boats in this area where the sharks are heavily populated keeps out poachers and protects them. The parks and governments don’t have the budgets to keep patrol boats there 24/7/365. And the experience the divers get form these operators brings awareness to the sharks and a thrilling adventure. These are all shark lovers. Doing nothing – sharks may disappear. Having operations like this, a strong argument can be made that it’s an effective way to protect the species.

6. The diver had a camera with him and took lots of video and photos, but unfortunately not during the ‘event’, so there’s no underwater video of this from his perspective.”

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Photos Gabe and Garrett/YouTube

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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