Swimmer on the British coast comes face-to-face with shark that almost swallows him whole

June 3, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

This is the jaws-dropping moment a beach-goer filmed a massive shark off the British coast – and was nearly SWALLOWED whole.

Lew Smart, 31, was sunbathing at Cornwall’s remote Sennen Cove when he spotted a fin gliding through the water.

Instead of scrambling to safety he decided to grab his underwater camera to capture some footage of the 15ft fish.

The basking shark as it opens its jaws wide open

The basking shark as it opens its jaws wide open

Lew Smart, 31, swimming in Cornwall when he came face-to-face with a shark

Lew Smart, 31, swimming in Cornwall when he came face-to-face with a shark

Lew recognised the massive enormous open mouth of a basking shark – a species that poses no risk to humans and feeds by hoovering up plankton as it swims.

But as Lew dived down the huge creature suddenly came straight at him – and for a few terrifying seconds he feared he would sucked into its 2ft wide mouth.

Lew kept his nerve and the shark swam past but the frightening moment was captured in his 40 second video.

Fearless Lew, of Sennen, has swam with sharks before and remained in the water observing the fish for 20 minutes.

The 15ft fish approaches

The 15ft fish approaches

Steve holds out his hand under the water as the shark approaches

Steve holds out his hand under the water as the shark approaches



He said: “We get basking sharks quite frequently just off the beach in Sennen.

“After I saw it about 30 metres out I decided to jump in the sea as I thought it would be quite cool to have a swim with it.

“It came pretty close to me – at one point it came towards me with its mouth wide open. I wasn’t scared but adrenaline was definitely going.

“I have spent most of my life out in the ocean surfing. I have been that close before but on a surf board.

“It was just cruising around, it wasn’t moving too much and didn’t seem phased by me.

The shark at Cornwall's remote Sennen Cove

The shark at Cornwall’s remote Sennen Cove

Steve recorded the terrifying moment

Steve recorded the terrifying moment



“I swam with it for around 20 minutes, I had to get out after a while as I was just in shorts and was getting cold.”

Around 15 years ago when Lew was just 16, he was chased by a tiger shark while in Hawaii.

He was also chased by a reef shark age 21 while travelling in Bali in 2004.

Lew, an actor who also runs Smart Surf School with his two brothers, Sam and Seb, said: “When I was in Bali, me and my friend were surfing and we got chased by a reef shark.

“It was right behind us but we managed to get out of the water pretty fast.”

The footage comes after leading experts declared the best start to basking shark season in living memory, with dozens of sightings along the Cornish coast.

Basking sharks tend to swim deep in the ocean but from May to October they come to the surface to feed on plankton blooms.

The harmless fish – which can reach lengths of up to 36ft – are the largest fish found in British waters and the second largest shark species.

They are known for their large dorsal fin and for swimming with open mouths which can be as much as 3ft wide.

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