Man 'nearly walks into shark' at popular Aussie beach

The close encounter was caught on video by a stunned bystander.

An Aussie swimmer got an unexpected surprise when a shark dropped in on him while at one of the country's most popular beaches. The man was wading through the water towards the shore at around 10am on Wednesday when a dark fin was spotted cutting through the waves.

Shark fin near swimmer at Manly beach; Shark fins near surf lifesaver
The shark is believed to be a grey nurse. Source: Instagram/Manly Observer

In a video posted on social media, the shark can be seen moving through the knee-deep water just metres away from the beachgoer. "I was sitting at the south corner of Manly Beach enjoying a coffee with my wife," local dad Ravi Rudner, who filmed the sighting, told Yahoo News Australia.

"At one point I looked up and saw a young family pointing into the water. It was a shark fin and tail thrashing in the shallow water, maybe five metres from the sand."

He added that the man in the water was "unaware" of the shark. "People on the shore were signalling to him to quickly get out," Mr Rudner said. "By that time a lifeguard had entered the water on his rescue board and positioned himself between the swimmer and the shark."

As the shark gets closer and closer to the man, the clip captures the surf lifesaver on his surfboard, moving in between the man and the shark. "The shark had been circling around and my impression is that it was a little stranded and trying to make its way back out to sea," explained Mr Rudner. "Eventually it did and that's when I stopped filming. It was all very relaxed and interesting rather than scary."

Common visitor to Manly

"It's hard to tell but my guess would be, because there's a lot of them down at Manly, is that it's a grey nurse," Bill Collett from the Australian Reptile Park told Yahoo News Australia. "They come in close when the salmon and mullet push against the shorelines there and they feed on them."

Mr Collett went on to explain that grey nurse sharks are a common at Manly and are seen "all the time" by divers and spearfisherman in the area, but said there's no need to panic. "I've dived with them heaps of times and they're a really cruisey shark," he explained. "You can get really close to them, and they just sit there motionless in the water a lot of the time, and they look really cool."

"Saying that, if there's food in the water, obviously you've got to be a little bit cautious, but they're not renowned as being a man eating shark like great whites.

"They look absolutely wild and they can still get big. The females get up to three-and-a-half metres, which is massive," Mr Collett added.

Shark fins spotted at Manly Beach
The shark was also spotted from the volleyball courts on Manly Beach. Source: Facebook

'Get out of the water'

While the shark expert believes this one came in chasing fish rather than people, he's urging anyone who spots a shark to move to dry land. "Especially if you don't know what you're looking at, just get out of the water. It's that simple," he said. "Who's to say that thing wouldn't mistake you for something else and give you a little nibble.

"A grey nurse would give you a nasty bite if it accidentally bit you. It wouldn't be ideal. So we just tell everyone, if you see a shark in the water, get out. There's no point hanging around to see whether he's friendly or foe."

The Northern Beaches Council confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that shark nets were installed off the Sydney's Northern Beaches on September 1, and will be in place until April 30, as part of the state government's Sharksmart program, while SMART drumlines have been permanently installed this year.

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