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McQuillen was able to capture the encounter with his GoPro, which shows the terrifying moment when the shark first knocks into him and then circles back for a closer look.
“I was diving off the coast of Santa Barbara at Refugio Point Sept 1st when I was hit in the back, I thought it was my friends playing a joke on me,” he wrote in the description of the YouTube video. “I lost grip of my speargun which I quickly retrieved and then it hit me. A HUGE great white which was at least 12ft long attacked me from the left side. It quickly circled around me and I used my speargun to keep it away.”
You can hear McQuillen shouting in the video, trying to warn his friends about the shark.
He added: “Extremely lucky to get out of this one alive. I saw blood around me and wasn’t sure where it was from, so I swam as fast as I could back to shore. Got a laceration on my right foot in the initial hit, I didn’t realized the shark had bit me. The shark bite broke two of my toes.”
For proof, he shared the following photo. (Warning: It’s graphic.)
That was close.
David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.