The dark shape spotted hours before the shark attack on Mick Fanning.
The dark shape spotted hours before the shark attack on Mick Fanning.

Mick Fanning: Shark spotted hours before his encounter

NEW footage has emerged that appears to show a shark lurking in the water close to Mick Fanning, just hours before he was attacked.

The footage from an earlier heat at the competition in South Africa picks up a huge dark shadow, metres from where the Australian surfer narrowly escaped a great white attack.

It comes as champion surfer Kelly Slater revealed a close friend of his had "clearly" seen a shark in the water not long before Fanning nearly lost his life.

The footage was picked up during live TV coverage of an earlier heat- ironically involving Mick Fanning- hours before the 34-year-old punched a shark that bit through the leg rope of his surf board.

Slater's close friend said he "clearly saw a shark figure in a wave during the quarter-finals from a drone shot", prompting the World Surf League organisers to reconsider the precautions in place to ensure surfers are safe whilst competing.

Slater wrote on Instagram: "There were multiple water photogs (including @jimmicane who shot this photo) swimming all day. I believe good things come to good people and although you can't say this was 'good', the outcome was amazing. @mfanno's instincts kicked into high gear and his scramble to face the shark and keep the board between them may have saved him. The scariest moment was when he turned around to face where the shark would be coming from after swimming 20 metres towards shore. I can't even imagine the vulnerability he must've felt. Great job by the contest announcers, water safety for getting right on it, @julian_wilson for paddling to help a friend out and basically everyone there to support. Hey, you didn't surf half bad this week either! #GiveHimTheTrophy!"


Photographer "Jimmicane" was sitting in the water during Fanning's earlier heat and recalls having ominous feelings about the surfing session.

In an Instagram photo of Fanning, he captions: "Easy for me to say now but I was definitely feeling spooked out there. Specifically during this heat, sitting down towards the keyhole all alone."

Fanning's mother, Elizabeth Osborne, described the horror of watchingthe incident unfold live on television in Australia.

"It was absolutely terrifying. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing and I thought we lost him," she said.

"I went over to the television almost as though I could pull him out of the television. I just wanted to save him really, but there was nothing I could do."

Osborne said she believed Fanning's brother Sean, who died in a car accident 17 years ago, was watching over his sibling.

After being plucked to safety by a rescue boat, Fanning said he had felt something get stuck in his leg rope and "instantly jump away".

"And it just kept coming at my board."

A shaken Fanning said he would be happy to never compete again after his brush with death.

He described the moment he realised the shark was behind him as terrifying, saying: "I was waiting for the teeth to come at me. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I punched it in the back.

"I saw it taking my board away and I just started cracking it.

"I'm totally fine. I've got nothing wrong with me. There's a small depression in my board and my leg wrap [was] bitten. I'm just totally tripping out. To walk away from that, I'm just so stoked. Oh man."

- With Daily Mail


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