Photographs have emerged of a surfer being trailed by a shark on a beach in Australia during an encounter described by onlookers as “eerie”.
Andrew Johnston, a 38-year-old local surfer, ignored warnings to come ashore and now says he did not realise how close he was to the creature, which was reportedly a 10-foot great white shark.
The encounter occurred at a beach at Esperance in the state of Western Australia along a stretch of coastline which has had a spate of fatal attacks in recent years.
“At the time I didn’t think it was that big a shark and that close, but I did lose sight of it when it came right up behind me,” Mr Johnston told ABC Radio.
“It was a lot more intense than I thought it was at the time; obviously it was a very close call. I was very lucky; you don’t get much closer than that without getting touched up by them.”
The photographs were taken by Frits De Bruyn, a tourist, on September 21, just days before another surfer lost his arm and a hand during an attack at a nearby beach.
Jesse McCarthy-Price, a local reporter, said the mood at the beach on the day was “really eerie”.
Mr Johnston said the incident was scary but would not keep him out of the water.
“Every time I go in the water, I know it could be my last day – it’s just one of the risks of being a surfer,” he said.
“You can’t escape these creatures. If your number’s up, your number’s up.”