Close encounter with Great White Shark : Surfer approached by shark at crowded West Beach



This is the frightening moment a three-metre Great White started trailing a surfer back to shore, just two weeks before another man lost his arm and hand in a nearby shark attack.

Andy Johnston was out with a small group of surfers at West Beach near Esperance, south-east of Perth, on September 21 when people ashore spotted the dark shadow looming.

Other surfers managed to clear the water onto a reef after people started to honk their car horns to warn of the approaching shark, but Mr Johnston opted to stay put.

‘I’d rather try to hold my ground against it and not freak out and make a commotion,’ he told the Esperance Express following his close encounter.

‘If you’re going to get chomped then you’re going to get chomped – there’s nothing you can do about it.’

The photos showing just how close Mr Johnston came only emerged on Thursday – a month after his close encounter.

Frits De Bruyn, who was on holiday in Western Australia at the time, was standing at a nearby lookout and managed to capture the drama.

‘We were at a lookout and we saw a shadow in the water. It became evident it was shark and everyone started shouting. There was about a dozen surfers and paddle boarders in the water,’ Mr De Bruyn told Daily Mail Australia.

‘He followed him to shore for a bit… he was only a body-length behind him.

‘The surfer went straight back out a few minutes after the shark swam away.’

The un-fazed surfer said he didn’t even think the shark posed a threat, but admits if things had gone badly it would have been traumatic for anyone who witnessed the attack.

‘It seemed just curious and I didn’t want to give it a reason to chase me so I tried to behave casually and keep an eye on it,’ Andy Johnston said.

‘But I didn’t know it came up quite so close as I was paddling into the wave to come into the beach with the other lads.

‘If you’re going to say a shark is a threat every time you see one, well that’s not true.

‘They’re doing their thing and we’re doing our thing.

‘I probably have a higher risk of breaking my neck on that reef than the shark causing me harm.’

Two weeks after Mr Johnston’s close encounter, Sean Pollard was attacked at nearby Wylie Bay, east of Esperance, on October 2.

The 23-year-old lost his left forearm and his other hand at the wrist when he was mauled while surfing.

Mr Pollard was dragged from the water where fellow beachgoers wrapped towels around his bleeding injuries.

He was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital.

Soon after, two great white sharks were caught and killed drum lines were deployed Western Australia’s Department of Fisheries.

The dead sharks were taken to Perth for research and Mr Pollard’s surfboard was being examined by experts.

Music : The Escalation by Kevin MacLeod
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