This is the terrifying moment a British diver finds himself under attack from a deadly shark.
Gary Virgo was exploring Fury Shoal, off Egypt‘s Red Sea Coast, when his dive partner noticed the predator overhead.
Soon after, the oceanic whitetip shark dropped down to his level, circling closer and closer, before closing in and ramming him.
Gary, from Peacehaven, East Sussex, said: ‘He made a beeline for me and then he headbutted me basically.
‘The force of it pushed me back in the water – my legs have gone up.
Gary Virgo was exploring Fury Shoal, off Egypt ‘s Red Sea Coast, when his dive partner noticed the predator overhead. The oceanic whitetip shark dropped down to his level, circling closer and closer, before closing in and ramming him
Gary Virgo with a catch from a trip. Mr Virgo, from Peacehaven, East Sussex, said: ‘He made a beeline for me and then he headbutted me basically’
‘It messed my breathing up a little bit, because I was stunned, I just couldn’t believe it – that wasn’t meant to happen.’
Oceanic whitetips have a reputation for aggression, and were described by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as ‘the most dangerous of all sharks’.
They’ve also been blamed for the notorious 1945 attacks on the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were left adrift in the Pacific after their ship was sunk by the Japanese.
But Gary is an experienced diver, who knows how to conduct himself around sharks, so the encounter came as a shock.
He said: ‘I just thought “right, brace yourself” and see what happens basically.
‘I wasn’t gonna intimidate him any more, and I just stood my ground and stuck to what I’m used to in training.
‘Normally if they’re going towards you, they turn around at the last minute and then go off, but he just came in.
The shark when it was swimming above Gary in the water
The shark can be seen swimming in Fury Shoal with a few fish surrounding it
It then makes its way over to the diver
The shark can be seen butting Gary and he tumbles in the water
‘I’m thinking to myself, ‘this ain’t supposed to happen’. There was no warning, it was just wallop, straight for me sort of thing.’
He added: ‘I was dumbfounded I must admit.’
The attack caused Mr Virgo, a welder fabricator, to abandon the dive.
‘Me and my dive buddy were only in the water nine minutes, and we should’ve been in the water for 45,’ he said.
‘I signalled to him and said “we’re going up”, because I thought “right, I’ll get out of the situation, just in case”.
‘What I said to myself was, “I’m glad I’m okay, I’m glad I’ve got back to the boat fine,” because you do look over your shoulder even when you’re swimming back to the boat.’
The shark then flees the scene. The attack caused Gary, a welder fabricator, to abandon the dive
The shark approaching just before the terrifying encounter
Gary, 66, reckons the shark might have attacked because of his dive gear.
He said: ‘I’ve got a Tigger dive hood that I bought up in Scotland, which is orange, yellow and black, like a tiger.
‘I’ve read that they don’t like yellow and orange; it’s the colours they go for.
‘Also my dive computer was bleeping, because I was fluctuating in the water – I was going up and down, because I was spinning round and following him.
‘So that’s another reason: I reckon it was the sound.’
However, the encounter hasn’t dampened Gary’s enthusiasm for sharks.
He said: ‘I love sharks.
‘My goal is to go cage diving with the great whites, that’s on my bucket list so to speak.’