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Swimmer Comes Face To Face With 20ft Basking Shark

Swimmer Comes Face To Face With 20ft Basking Shark

The animals are said to be harmless but swimmers have been told to be vigilant

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

Footage has been shared online showing the moment a swimmer came face to face with a huge basking shark.

The man was swimming off the coast of Malaga, Spain, when the monstrous animal glided past him, with its fin peeking out of the water.

According to reports, this most recent sighting (22 May) of the the plankton-eating basking shark was the third in less than a month in the country's southern waters.

Experts who have seen the footage believe that the shark was about 20ft long.

It's understood that the video was captured from a boat the swimmer is thought to have jumped from in order to get a closer look at the animal.

And though the shark is said to be harmless to humans, local authorities have warned kayakers and other sports enthusiasts to be vigilant and not to approach them.

This comes after another shark of the same sort described as being more than 26ft long was spotted last weekend (16/17 May) off La Mamola Beach.

The swimmer came within inches of the 20ft shark.

And at the beginning of the month, a smaller basking shark was also spotted off the nearby resort of Calahonda on the Costa Tropical. That one was much smaller at around 10 feet.

Further north, off Sant Pol beach near Barcelona, members of Spain's Paralympic swimming team were filmed out-sprinting two suspected blue sharks.

Ariel Schrenck was part of the Spanish team that took part in last year's World Para Swimming Allianz Championships in London, and was training at the time.

Speaking to local media about the incident, he said: "My mum started to shout like a crazy woman that there were sharks in the water.

"At that moment my body started panicking terribly and I started swimming like a madman. I think I was 100 meters from the shore. I think they were the 100 metres where I most put my heart and soul into swimming for my life.

"I'm not in top shape and I almost died sprinting to the shore."

The sharks the 19-year-old out-swam are thought to be tintoreras or blue sharks, which have been blamed for several attacks on holidaymakers in the past, including one in Elche near Alicante in July 2016. So Ariel may have been lucky to get away.

The 40-year-old victim in the 2016 incident was rushed to hospital and given stitches to a wound in his hand.

Featured Image Credit: Solarpix

Topics: Interesting, Spain, shark