Scuba Diver Has Close Encounter With Shark Off Maine

A scuba diver is glad he had his camera with him. Scott MacNichol, 30, used the camera to fend off a porbeagle shark, and he has the scary video to prove it.

The coldwater shark bared its teeth as it apparently mistook the camera for food, MacNichol says. The incident happened off the eastern tip of Maine, near Eastport.

A commercial diver, MacNichol estimates the shark was 8 feet long and weighed about 300 pounds.

MacNichol was filming the ocean floor as part of an environmental assessment for Cooke Aquaculture. He says he saw the shark swimming above him as he shot footage of empty salmon pens, and then the animal came at him.

In the video, teeth fill the frame before the creature swims away.

"He took a couple of bites at the camera. When he did that I was pretty much petrified," MacNichol says. "If you watch the video, you can hear me screaming underwater."

Porbeagle sharks look like mako or great white sharks, and typically dine on herring and mackerel. Shark attacks are rare in New England, though sightings of great whites off Cape Cod this summer caused officials to temporarily close some beaches.

Photo, NOAA; Video, Cooke Aquaculture, MER Assessment Corp.
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