Scuba Diver Reveals How To Stop Shark Attack in Heart-Stopping Footage

Despite humans having a one in 4.3 million chance of being killed in a shark attack, it remains a common fear. A video explaining what to do—and what not to do—if you encounter a shark has gone viral, receiving almost 58,000 upvotes on Reddit alone.

In a post shared to Reddit's r/interestingasf*** forum on 20 August, user u/SamMee514 re-posted a video from TikTok user @mermaid.kayleigh.

In the clip, Kayleigh's friend and fellow diver Andy showcases what not to do if you come in contact with a shark, as well as a quick tip that could save your life.

The 'Jaws effect'

A 2015 Ipsos poll found that over 51 percent of Americans are afraid of sharks. Galeophobia, an abnormally strong and persistent fear of sharks, provokes severe distress and anxiety in sufferers, even if they're safe. For example, a galeophobe might skip trips to the aquarium or panic on a boat or at the beach, even if there is no chance of a shark appearing.

In 2014, Christopher Neff—a lecturer in Public Policy from the University of Sydney, Australia—explored how the success of the 1975 blockbuster Jaws influenced people's fear of sharks. Dubbing the movie's impact the "Jaws effect," Neff proposed that the film's story line created three myths around shark attacks.

According to the Steven Spielberg-directed classic, sharks deliberately bite people, encounters with sharks are always deadly and sharks need to be killed to protect humans. Since the film's release almost 50 years ago, the shark population has drastically declined, with over 100 million sharks killed every year.

Diver reveals how to stop shark attack
A stock photo of a tiger shark swimming towards the camera. Reddit users suggested a shark that appears in a viral video just wanted its nose "booped" rather than to eat a diver for lunch. HakBak1979/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Peter Benchley, author of the novel that inspired the movie, regretted demonizing great white sharks in his writing. He told the Daily Express: "I could never write that book today. Sharks don't target human beings, and they certainly don't hold grudges."

He became an environmentalist and shark protection advocate until his death in 2006.

In a more recent study in 2021, Professor Brianna Le Busque from the University of South Australia looked beyond Jaws to see how the entertainment industry as a whole has framed our perception of sharks.

Evaluating 109 "shark attack" movies, she discovered that 96 percent showed sharks in a threatening light, with only one film not depicting the animals in such a way. She likened the results to how the news media portrays sharks, which she describes as "exaggerated."

'Act like a predator'

In the video, which Kayleigh narrates, Andy can be seen swimming as a tiger shark approaches from behind.

"Andy is demonstrating why we do not want to splash and swim away from sharks," Kayleigh says.

"Splashing and swimming away imitates what prey does. When dealing with top predators like sharks, we also want to act like a predator."

Andy then turns around to face the shark as it comes within touching distance.

"What you actually want to do is not splash, turnaround, face the animal and maintain eye contact," Kayleigh continues.

"With tiger sharks, you can place your hand on the top of their head, push down gently and that will redirect them away from you."

The diver then pushes down on the shark's nose and guides it in a different direction.

Although Redditors were impressed by the footage, many users also saw the funny side of a shark being gently steered by its nose.

Imagining a conversation between Andy and the shark, Thealexstorm wrote: "'Hey pal, why don't you just go over this way instead."

Are1245 had a different take on the scene: "'Are you food?' 'No' ( gently pushes the shark away) 'understandable, have a nice day.'"

A_crusty_old_man suggested that: "Sharky just wanted his snoot booped."

ChimpyChompies commented: "TIL, sharks have a button on their head that stops them from eating you. Nice."

Newsweek has reached out to @mermaid.kayleigh and u/SamMee514 for comment. We could not verify the details of the story.

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