Matt Wilkinson, 32, didn’t see the shark while paddling his board off Ballina, Australia, and only realized how close it was when he saw the video afterward.
The 1.5-meter-long shark may have been deterred from attacking the surfer by the sound of the drone or by the rope’s contact of the man’s leg on his snout, officials said.
Mr Wilkinson told Nine Network Television: “I heard, like, the sound of his tail and I looked back a little bit and I was like, ‘No, there’s nothing there. ‘, and I had some weird vibes and I just convinced myself that was all right, like you always do when you’re in the waves. ”
Moments later, a recorded warning from the aerial drone signaled that there was a dangerous shark nearby and everyone had to get out of the water.
The surfer later saw the footage on the beach and said “my heart sank” as she watched her close encounter.
“He actually went to bite and my smelly little toe must have made him change his mind,” he said.
Drone operator Beau Monks, of Surf Life Saving NSW, said he felt fear as he watched the shark appear from the depths of the ocean and begin to circle Mr Wilkinson.
“I’m not quite sure why the shark decided to turn away at the last minute. It could be something as simple as bumping into the rope of your leg or it could be the drone, ”he said.
Mr Monks added that sea creatures sometimes soar when a drone approaches.
Numerous shark attacks have been recorded in New South Wales in recent years and drones patrol Ballina beaches daily during school holidays.