Panic as spear fishermen stalked by shark: 'It was abject fear'

A drone operator who filmed the moment said she felt totally helpless as she watched the encounter unfold from above.

The "scary" moment three spear fishermen were approached by a shark at a popular beach has been caught on camera as the drone operator quietly watched on in horror.

On Sunday the group was fishing near rocks in Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast when the unwelcome visitor was spotted directly below their position after swimming along the shoreline and narrowly passing other unsuspecting swimmers.

The shark was barely visible amongst the rocks as it approached the fishermen.
The shark got scarily close to the fishermen who did not notice it at first amongst the rocks. Source: 9 News

Lifeguards sounded the alarm and alerted all in the water to make a hasty exit, however the fishermen had no clear route and were visibly panicked as they splashed around in their effort to escape.

Drone operator Emily Howman was tracking the shark's movements and felt a sense of helplessness watching the incident unfold.

"I can't do anything from up with my drone. I couldn't even warn them," she explained to 9News.

Drone operator Emily Howman (pictured) couldn't do anything but watch the shark.
Drone operator Emily Howman couldn't do anything but watch on. Source: 9News

"There's no audio, so it was abject fear that something bad would happen and all I would be able to do was watch," she said.

Thankfully it appears no one was hurt and the uninterested animal, thought to be a nurse shark, left the fishermen without further interaction.

Nurse sharks usually docile in nature

This species of shark likes to dwell near the sea floor in warm, shallow waters and are often known to walk along the sandy floor with their pectoral fins, according to National Geographic. They can grow up to three metres in length and are usually slow-moving and docile in nature, however, can cause harm if provoked.

In 2019 a man was reportedly bitten by a nurse shark at Manly Beach in Sydney and was rushed to hospital for medical treatment but made a full recovery.

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