It was like a scene out of a movie: a man stranded in the ocean, a shark circling around him as others converge in the distance. A helicopter drifts overhead as the man pleads for help, praying to be saved as the predators close in on him.
The man survived, but two companions were not so lucky. One was rescued, but died later in the hospital. He was unconscious when he was pulled from the water and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, the West Australian reported. The third man is still missing.
The three men went out on a fishing trip off the coast of west Australia Thursday. Police told the West Australian newspaper that the men were unfamiliar with the area and asked a local resident where to find a particular kind of fish.
According to the West Australian, a couple of waves toppled the boat and threw the men into the water. The boat sank quickly and was mostly submerged and barely visible from the air.
The three men struggled to stay together, but drifted further and further apart.
A search for the trio began when they did not return home and continued into the early morning, but the search team was forced to stop until the sun came up today.
The survivor, who is 49 but not otherwise identified, was found naked and treading water after a television news team sent out to cover the search spotted debris in the water from their helicopter.
The TV news crew also spotted the shark.
“We just spotted a massive hammerhead shark that is just circling around him, about 20 meters from him,” report Grant Taylor of Channel Seven News said in his report.
The news helicopter drifted helplessly above the stranded fisherman, unable to help him.
“He keeps waving at our chopper trying to get us to come down and help him but there’s nothing we can actually do,” Taylor reported.
Authorities arrived and began a desperate effort to save him. First they dropped a life raft, but the man was too exhausted to swim towards it.
Finally a rescue boat arrive and hoisted the fisherman on board by rope.
It is believed he was stranded in the water for 24 hours. He is being treated for severe hypothermia at a hospital in Perth.
The search continues for the third fisherman, who is still missing.