Great white shark smashes through diver’s cage in real-life Jaws moment
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Terrifying footage shows the moment a great white shark smashes through a diver’s cage and crunches it into pieces, leaving its would-be prey scrambling for dear life in the open water.
The footage, which resurfaced on TikTok recently, comes from a 2022 Discovery documentary called Great White Open Ocean, which follows the near-death experience of expert shark diver Jimi Partington.
Partington almost died in 2020 when he was filming in waters off the coast of San Diego, California, as he attempted to explore his theory about shark behaviours, having believed the predators became more aggressive offshore.
Partington was shooting a show with animal behaviourist Brandon McMillan for Discovery’s famous Shark Week event, with an aim to find a great white shark offshore and get into the water with it.
Shark Week filmmaker Jeff Kurr said: “Jimi had this theory that great whites might be more aggressive offshore, where their food sources are scarce.
“And to prove his theory, he actually wanted to jump in with a great white shark in open ocean.”
After reports from local fishermen that there was a dead whale out in the sea, the group headed to find it – eventually finding sharks circling nearby.
Partington clambered into a see-through polycarbonate cage to observe the sharks.
“He was determined to use this cage to get very close to these animals,” Kurr said.
At first, sharks swam around him while those on the boat called over to tell him when they spotted one approaching.
McMillan said Partington was ‘fearless’ as he hopped inside, recalling: “It was pretty monotonous for, I'd say, about 45 minutes to an hour."
“Next thing you know, it all happened.”
The footage showed Partington watching carefully as sharks swam beneath him.
“They’re staying deep and coming up and hitting [the cage],” he said.
“I’ve already had two bumps now that have been pretty deliberate.
“They look like they’re getting a little bit more fired up.”
Suddenly, a great white swims up towards the cage and bites into it, immediately crunching it apart to pieces with its gigantic teeth.
Partington struggled to get on top of the remains of the cage, clearly panicking, before quickly swimming back to the boat and being desperately yanked on board.
He had thankfully managed to just avoid the shark’s teeth as it chomped into the cage.
“It was just a miracle what happened... Technically the plexiglass saved Jimi’s life,” McMillan said.
Miraculously, Partington came out of the attack injury-free but was left suffering PTSD in the wake of what happened.
“It’s unbelievable that I haven’t got a scratch on me,” he says in the clip.
McMillan said Partington later seemed ‘shook up’ from the incident, and was having ‘nightmares’ and waking up in the middle of the night in a ‘cold sweat’.
Partington admitted he experienced ‘every emotion’ in the few days after the attack, from great highs of adrenaline to huge lows in self-esteem – and even a ‘strange sense of guilt’ over what happened.
"They call it PTSD, apparently,” he said.
However, he said he had a ‘deep admiration and love’ for sharks, knowing he had to get ‘back in the saddle’, even if the journey was not an easy one.
“I believe these are acceptable risks if you’re working with such a large predator,” he said.
“These risks are worth taking if we’re going to push the boundaries of our shark knowledge.”