A Florida father operating a drone during a recent beach trip was using the flying device to view his family from above when he spotted a shark heading right toward them.
Dan Watson, a professional photographer, was flying a Mavic 2 Pro over New Smyrna Beach to capture photos of his wife, Sally, and their three children, Grace, Jonathan and Landon, as they played in the water, when he noticed a shadowy figure underneath the water getting close to his family.
“As soon as I took (the drone) out over their heads, that’s when I started seeing shadows moving through the water,” he told WOFL.
Watson said he immediately ran toward his family while shouting for his wife to get herself and their kids out of the water, a plea she thankfully heard in time.
“I immediately get the kids out of the water” Sally recalled to Central Florida station News 13. “I see them get out of the water, and he immediately brings the drone to me, and I see the shark swimming at my children.”
“When you think of a shark, you think of them in deep water, you don’t think of them extremely close, and you don’t think they’ll come in knee-deep water,” she added. “It is terrifying to see them come that close to my kids.”
Volusia County, Fla., which is home to New Smyrna Beach, earned itself the dubious unofficial title of “shark bite capital of the world” in 2017, according to the Daytona Beach News-Ledger. Nine shark bites were reported at the county’s beaches that year, bringing the state’s total to 31 unprovoked attacks, more than anywhere else in the world.
In comparison, South Carolina had 10 unprovoked shark attacks in 2017, while Hawaii had six.
“Volusia County just has the most surfers in Florida and the most people in the water, so they keep topping the chart for shark attacks,” Lindsay French, who supervises the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, explained to the outlet.