Australian Daredevil Calls Shark Encounter ‘Very Stupid’

By ABC News

Jan 17, 2014 2:27pm

By KINGA JANIK and LAUREN EFFRON

An Australian daredevil who caught international attention after video of a shark coming directly at him while he was “extreme cage diving” went viral, called the stunt “very stupid.”

“[It was] one of the stupidest and craziest things I’ve done, for sure,” Shaun Harrington told “Nightline.” “Very stupid, but we’re lucky to walk away from this one.”

Harrington, 27, is a member of The Mad Heuys, a sort of Australian bad boy fishing and surfing crew. Harrington said they were shooting a video for their website when his twin brother Dean came up with the idea for a shark dive. They were out with a professional fisherman off Australia’s Gold Coast, when the fisherman hooked a 10-foot tiger shark.

“I didn’t really know what we had going, and then we got out there and [my brother] pulled out this bird cage, this $50 bird cage… we could just fit our heads in there,” Harrington said. “We hooked the shark, yeah and then everything went pear-shaped from there.”

Harrington jumped in the water with the bird cage on his head and a GoPro camera in hand to snag a few shots, but then something went horribly wrong.

“I was underwater and I looked and the shark was going really, really crazy,” he said. “I was yelling to the camera crew on the boat, ‘grab the birdcage, grab the birdcage.’ I tried to throw it in [the boat] and it wouldn’t go in, and I turned around and saw the shark coming for me.”

Harrington can be seen on the video holding the cage with his hands to fend off the shark before scrambling to safety on the boat.

“It was just something going so wrong,” he said. “It wasn’t planned to be like that, no way.”

Harrington said it was his first – and last – encounter with a shark. “It’s the craziest creature ever, but they’re beautiful,” he said.

The video, which has garnered more than 1.5 million views on YouTube since it was posted Tuesday, has made Harrington a viral star, but his decision to jump in the water with a shark didn’t fly with his wife.

“My wife still hasn’t seen the clip and she won’t watch it,” he said. “I’m still in the doghouse.”

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