Well to my mind it was only a matter of time until a white shark found its way in to a shark cage. Twice in a month surprises me, but as others have mentioned you can never be absolutely certain of anything when dealing with wild animals in their own territory. Our main hope is that there isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to this of banning cage diving or similar. Especially as neither has resulted in human harm.



It’s clear from the video of this instance that the shark was concentrating on the bait. You get an excellent sense of their power when you see the acceleration as it lunges for the bait and as it closes on the cage the rope is taut suggesting the shark is probably trying to turn away from the boat. Once it’s nose is lodged in the cage it does what you expect from a fairly young, wild animal. It starts thrashing to get away. This pushes it in to the cage where panic sets in. Fortunately it found its way out fairly quickly though not without injuring itself. Nothing it shouldn’t be able to recover from with any luck.

About the only thing that could have been done to avoid this happening given these circumstances would be for the bait handler to loosen the bait line to allow the shark freedom to move away from the cage in a direction of its choosing. However, I know first hand the difficulty of making that call in the split second you have after it has grabbed the bait. When bait handling you’re naturally waiting slightly tensed to try and jerk the bait away from the shark. With a fast lunge like this one, by the time you’re tugging on the line the shark is almost already at the cage!

I have at times been surprised by the size of the viewing ports in some cages and my main hope is that this incident results in operators being more cautious in their ratio of safety to unobstructed cage view. Perhaps the generally large size of sharks encountered in these waters made the cage designers complacent. Where animals in the wild are concerned, designing for the 95th percentile is not necessarily a good plan and cages should be made with 100% in mind.

To keep things in perspective I still firmly believe that there are many other wildlife experiences where more or as much risk is taken and it’s something anyone joining any of these kinds of expeditions should be aware of.

The main message to take from this I feel is that the shark shows no interest in the cage diver from start to finish. Its initial focus is the bait, then getting away. This should not put anyone off cage diving, I can’t speak highly enough of the experience. Just be aware that as in anything you do, anything can happen. Always look both ways before crossing the road!

If you’re interested in some diving tips for novices to lower your risk of harm, check out this article by Kathryn Hodgson: