Kind dolphins and aircraft passengers tried to warn a surfer to shore who was being stalked by a 20-foot shark and saved the man’s life.
When a man was surfing on Wallagoot Beach on the New South Wales coast, he noticed that the dolphins in the area began acting differently. He had encountered dolphins before, but this time was different.
Bill Ballard told an Australian newspaper, “It’s hard to describe, but they kept coming up to the surface to look at me and also began swimming back and forward, coming closer and trying to push me towards the shore.”
Soon after, an aircraft that was watching the dolphins feeding on salmon flew down to tell Ballard that there was a large shark in the water nearby, according to reporting from The Courier.
The two passengers of the aircraft screamed at the man, “Shark, shark!” Unfortunately, the aircraft had gone too low and was not able to go up again, and it crashed in the water, just a few meters from the beach.
Ballard caught a wave to shore to check on the passengers.
“She kept saying, ‘That shark was so close to you, so close, and it was the biggest one I’ve ever seen. It must have been around 20 feet long,’” Ballard told The Courier. “I am so thankful. They were like guardian angels coming to save me.”
“At first, I thought they must have mistaken it for a dolphin, and I kept asking if they were sure it wasn’t, but the pilot said, ‘No, I’ve been flying for years and I know exactly what a shark looks like,” Ballard told the newspaper.
Neither of the passengers of the aircraft was significantly injured, and the surfer is safe.
There are over 400 species of sharks inhabiting oceans worldwide, ranging in size from a mere eight inches to a whopping 40 feet in length! Some actively hunt and kill a variety of animals, including seals, fish, and whales, while others are merely filter-feeders that dine on plankton. Some sharks have flattened bodies for hiding in the sand, while others patrol the deepest, coldest depths of the ocean. Colorful markings characterize some species, while others have distinguishable head shapes mimicking hammers or saws.
The recorded history of shark attacks has fueled fear in the hearts of man toward these creatures for years. Between 1580 and 2014, there have been a total of 2,777 unprovoked shark attacks confirmed worldwide, with 497 of those being fatal. While sharks are often treated as ruthless killers, humans are much more likely to die by other means. In the United States from 2001 to 2013, there were 364 fatal dog attacks compared to a mere 11 fatal shark attacks.
And in the coastal United States between the years 1959 to 2010, lighting strikes killed 1,970 individuals while sharks only accounted for 26 deaths. Reason should lead us to conclude that sharks are not at all as dangerous as they are made out to be, nor are they deserving of the lack of compassion they’ve gotten from mankind.
Shark attacks may not statistically be of much concern, despite what the media may have you think. However, education and appreciation for sharks can go a long way in helping make the planet safer for both sharks and humans alike.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 5 October 2022. Lead Image Source : wildestanimal/Shutterstock.
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