Great white shark interrupts police operation by stalking dinghy

Anglers say they thought about changing their underwear several times

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 04 April 2018 17:36
Great white shark interrupts Australian police operation

A great white shark interrupted a police operation by gliding between an officers’ dinghy and a boat they had targeted for inspection.

The beast stalked the police boat nine miles off the coast of South Australia, frightening two life-jacketed officers on board.

Footage showed the shark swimming close to the inflatable dinghy before drifting towards a recreational fishing vessel the officers had selected for random breathalyser tests.

Dubbed Noah by police, the great white was longer than the patrol boat and estimated to be 4.5 metres in length.

“Police were concentrating on recreational boats and checking registration, licences and safety equipment along with alcohol and drug-testing operators when they were paid a visit by one of the locals,” South Australia Police wrote on Facebook.

“Noah wasn’t keen on being breath tested and our Water Operations Unit officers were happy to oblige!”

One of the anglers on the fishing boat told ABC Radio they had been trying to escape the shark when the police approached.

Mark Oaks said he was fishing with friends at Tapley Shoal, nine miles east of Edithburgh, when a friend suddenly swore and shouted: “Look at the size of this thing that’s come up behind us.”

The great white shark was longer than the police dinghy

The shark became interested in their boat and kept “coming up against the motor”, he added.

“We kind of had thoughts of changing our Bonds [underwear] a couple of times,” Mr Oaks said. “So we powered up and cruised out of there but it just kept following us for 10 minutes.

“At the same time, the coppers were out there with their big patrol boat and they had another two guys on the inflatable.”

Mr Oaks added: “I told the boys to back off a bit because the shark was right next to us. For probably the next 10 or 15 minutes we just sat around. The police brought the big boat in, which is where the footage from above the shark has come from.

“There was very little fish caught that day, I can tell you.”

Police abandoned their attempt to breath test the anglers.

“I don’t think they were quite that game to come up close to us by that stage,” Mr Oaks said.

More than 1,000 great white sharks live off the coast of South Australia, according to recent estimates from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

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