A routine police patrol off the South Australian shore was interrupted in a most Australian way, when a great white shark measuring about five meters in length swam dangerously close to a comparatively tiny boat with two police investigators aboard.
The officers had departed a Water Operations Unit vessel in the inflatable boat to inspect a fishing vessel for alcohol when the creature appeared in front of them.
According to one of the anglers, who incidentally managed to avoid a breathalyzer test thanks to the incident, the shark had been circling around them for some time before the police boat appeared.
Even the onlooking anglers in their 5.7 meter boat were scared by the intruder; one of them told the local ABC Radio affiliate, “We kind of had thoughts of changing our Bonds [underwear] a couple of times."
He also told the police to back off as the shark was too close, so the policemen had to just sit and wait for about 15 minutes until their colleagues arrived in a bigger vessel. They also filmed the dangerous encounter and later uploaded it on their Facebook account, casually mentioning it along with routine checks of registrations, licenses and safety equipment along with alcohol and drug testing operators.
The spokesperson of the South Australian Police noted in the social media post that Noah, as the shark was dubbed, “wasn't keen on being breath tested and our Water Operations Unit officers were happy to oblige.”
The Australian coast is notorious for harboring bull sharks, tiger sharks and great white sharks, which are all known for attacking humans. The country has the second-highest per capita number of unprovoked shark attacks in the world after the United States. One of the country's most popular beaches, Bondi, in New South Wales, has had approximately 300 shark attacks since 1990.
To prevent accidents and improve beach safety, Australia has tried different means, from an aerial shark detection system based on the ‘Little Ripper’ drone to protective nets that entangle the sharks.