Teens Circled by Sharks Survive by Huddling on Reef for Hours

Three teenagers spearfishing in Australia were marooned on a tiny reef when several sharks circled them for nearly two hours.

Emilio Gianfancesco, 17, Jedd Falloon and Toby Howe, both 16, had been spearfishing in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia, on Saturday afternoon when a shark suddenly appeared, Nine News reported.

Falloon told the station that the shark was moving at "100 miles an hour" and almost attacked him and Gianfrancesco.

The trio managed to avoid injury by huddling together on a shallow reef, waiting for help as five or six sharks—identified by the boys as bronze whalers—circled them repeatedly.

"See out of nowhere this shark just came through at 100 miles an hour and hit Emilio and then almost went straight for me," Falloon told Nine News.

"They were circling the reef, just wouldn't stop. Just around and around. It was wild."

According to Nine News, they eventually managed to get the attention of Falloon's girlfriend, who was waiting by the beach, and help soon arrived.

They had been stranded on the reef for up to two hours before they were rescued.

Western Australia police confirmed they had been called to an "unusual rescue" at around 2 p.m. on Saturday.

A rescue helicopter had been deployed to the scene in case it was needed, as well as a boat from Augusta Volunteer Marine Rescue, police said.

Police said the boys were taken back to shore from the reef at Cosy Corner. They told police that five or six sharks measuring up to 3 meters (9 feet) in length had appeared shortly after they speared a fish.

"The divers were conveyed to shore where they advised police that 5 or 6 sharks up to 3m in length appeared soon after they speared a fish and were darting amongst them," police said in a post on Facebook.

"They believed the sharks were bronze whalers. They subsequently sought refuge on the reef."

Western Australia police also posted an aerial shot of the rescue on their Facebook page, adding: "Great coordinated rescue by all the folks at Augusta – especially the volunteers!"

They added that none of the boys were injured during their close encounter with the sharks.

Howe said he and his friends were grateful to have been rescued when they were.

"We didn't think anything was coming cause it had been a while but as we were about to jump in we heard the chopper coming over the hill," he told Nine News.

Falloon also thanked the team who rescued them. "Big shout out to them. Without them, we still would've been stuck out there," he said.

Bronze whaler sharks, also known as copper sharks, are not considered especially dangerous to people, according to sharkinsider.com. However, there have been numerous non-fatal attacks on humans linked to bronze whalers, especially swimmers and spearfishers.

shark attack
Three teenage boys were rescued by boat after being circled by sharks while marooned on a small reef in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia. Western Australia Police