Man Jumps Into Group of 10 Sharks to Rescue Injured Bird in Viral Video

Footage showing a man bravely facing shark-infested waters to save a small injured bird from the sea predators has gone viral and touched viewers across the world.

According to a report by Newsflare, a bold crew member, who was working aboard a luxury yacht in the Maldives, realized the small bird was in distress and braved the sharks and intense ocean currents to get the animal back on land.

Video taken by Jalil Najafov, a local filmmaker and conservationist, captured the crew member returning to his boat after successfully saving the Australian zebra finch. Holding the bird high in the air with his right hand, he swims back to the yacht with his other free hand as two 6-foot sharks are seen circling in the clear water.

The man safely makes it back to the boat, but hands off the frightened bird to a man onboard before climbing the ladder to get out of the sharks' line of vision. The video ends with a close-up on the zebra finch, which looks around but appears to be unharmed by any of the sharks.

The video was posted on Najafov's Instagram in late April and has since gone viral, with many hailing the man—later identified as Muhammad Rakeeb of the Azalea Cruise Line in a report from Newsflare—as a "hero."

"Thank you for saving the bird," one person commented.

"Wow he's so brave," another chimed in.

"Awesome a man after my own [heart]," one said.

Najafov told Newsweek that the ship's crew has long cared for the bird, which lives onboard in a potted bush. They realized something was amiss when the crew heard the bird make a sound from the water.

"The crew accidentally noticed that the bird jumped into the water, and Muhammad jumped into the water to save it," he explained. "The bird sometimes jumped out of the bush but was always on the boat. But this time there was no one around, and the bird jumped from the boat into the water."

While Najafov was injured and could not assist in the rescue operation, he caught the moment Rakeeb saved the bird.

"I had injured my leg and I was wearing a bandage, so I couldn't enter the water, otherwise, as a sign of solidarity, I would have tried to help him somehow—but it was clear that he felt good, despite the strong current and swimming with one hand," Najafov told Newsflare.

Rakeeb then quickly hopped in the water to scoop up the bird before any of the sharks could, much to the relief of the rest of the boat's crew.

"We were lucky that Muhammad was near at that moment and saw a bird in the ocean and jumped in," Najafov said in a statement to Newsweek. "At that moment there was only one guy from the crew, and he was very happy that the bird was saved."

According to Najafov, the shark sightings in the water are not unusual for the Azalea Cruise workers. While the sharks did not present a huge threat to Rakeeb, the waves did offer their own set of challenges.

"They were nurse sharks and a few gray sharks underwater, but nurse sharks are not dangerous, they are like a puppy," he told Newsweek. "The problem is that it was a big current and Muhammad swam with only one hand without a mask and fins.

Najafov also told Newsflare that although the video showed only two sharks in the water, there were "about 10 nurse sharks around the boat at the time."

Several in the comments were quick to point out that the 6-foot sharks seen in the video were non-threatening nurse sharks, but many still remarked that they would not have exhibited the same bravery as Rakeeb.

"Anytime there's a little shark just know the mother isn't far away," one said. "The shark was following behind to help take care of the bird.

"'Hey, are you going to eat that?'" another viewer joked.

Najafov told Newsweek: "I don't know if [Muhammad] is afraid of sharks or not, as I have ever seen if he dived with sharks before, but for me it was normal that I love sharks and dive with them without any fear."

Man jumps in shark-infested water, saves bird
A ship crew member who bravely hopped into shark-infested waters to rescue an injured bird has gone viral on Instagram for his actions. Jalil Najafov/Instagram

Azalea Cruise is not the only boat to come in contact with sharks in recent weeks. Passengers aboard a ship off the East Coast of the U.S. caught a glimpse of a giant shark swimming next to the vessel in May. In North Carolina, a mako shark tried its best to make a meal out of a boat when it was caught biting the steel hull.