A seal's dramatic escape from the jaws of a shark was caught on camera off the coast of Cape Cod.
The shark's dining fail was a win for the marine researchers who captured footage of the rare sight of a shark breaching the water in search of prey.
Researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy were on a routine outing when their spotter pilot flying above saw a shark try to grab a seal, Cynthia Wigren, the organization's president, said. When the boat moved closer, the group witnessed a shark shoot out of the waves after a jumping seal, just missing its potential meal.
“Everyone was incredibly happy on the boat, just a lot of, 'Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that happened,'" Wigren said in an interview.
The Aug. 18 encounter, caught on camera by Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and later posted to YouTube, occurred just 30 feet from shore, in water that was about 10 feet deep. While recent shark sightings have prompted beach closures on the Cape, the location of this encounter isn't a cause for concern for summer travelers. The video was captured off the coast of a wildlife refuge in Monomoy, not near public swimming beaches, Wigren said.
While sharks in other parts of the world, such as South Africa, have been known to breach, or clear, the water while hunting their food, Wigren said this marked the first time the local researchers had witnessed the behavior.
“To have the events be so rare, it’s always an incredible experience to witness it," she said.
The seal, meanwhile, appeared to escape unscathed.
"It quickly ran up the beach and got away," Wigren said.