Great White Sharks, Dolphins Have Close Encounter in Stunning Drone Footage

A close encounter between a pair of dolphins and a shark has been captured on film by a man in California testing out his new drone.

The breathtaking footage was recorded by Encinitas local Alex Higley, who paid a visit to Torrey Pines last week to get to grips with his new gadget.

The footage, which has been captivating viewers on YouTube and Facebook, begins with the drone flying over a sparsely populated beach and above the ocean.

With the footage being constantly beamed from the drone to Alex's phone, he said he was "probably looking for just a couple of minutes" when he spotted the first shark, which was swimming along the coast, not far from the shore.

Then, another shark became visible nearby after Alex "zoomed out and flew that drone a little bit higher."

"So I followed those two sharks for a while and brought the drone in to change the batteries a couple of times, and then on the third time when I flew out and located the sharks again, as I went to an even higher altitude I saw there was a third shark in the area," he told CBS 8.

Alex believes that all three sharks he caught on film were great white sharks, which are capable of growing to 23 feet in length, and are regularly spotted off the Pacific coast.

As if that wasn't extraordinary enough, Alex then caught sight of two more animals, which he initially thought were whales.

"All of a sudden [...] I noticed there were these two dolphins, and they passed right in front of one of the sharks, and I was kind of on edge, waiting to see what was going to happen," he said.

"But it was pretty interesting to see that the sharks didn't even react too much to the dolphins going by."

The footage shows them making their way through the trio of sharks, passing one of them by mere meters before disappearing into the depths.

Alex said this was just his third time flying the drone.

Great white sharks have a fearsome reputation, and they have been linked with more fatal attacks on humans than any other species.

This is partly because they spend most of their time swimming close to the surface of the water and near the shore, often sharing their territory with surfers and swimmers.

The Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File shows that great whites have been implicated in 333 unprovoked attacks on humans since their records began, with 52 of those proving fatal.

Of the 20 unprovoked shark attacks recorded off the coast of San Diego County since 1926, great whites were responsible for 97% of them.

A great white shark swimming
A stock image shows a great white shark, unrelated to the one filmed by Alex Higley, whose drone footage shows a close encounter between two dolphins and a trio of sharks. Ramon Carretero/Getty Images