An experienced British diver had a terrifying experience recently after losing sight of his dive boat. He suddenly realized he was being closely followed by a 13 feet tiger shark close to Shark Bay, off the coast of Western Australia. It took him three hours to swim almost five miles to shore, with the shark close behind him.

Diver loses sight of his boat and spots the tiger shark

According to 34-year-old John Craig, he was with spearfishing with his friend, close to Shark Bay, when he suddenly lost sight of the boat. Originally hailing from Sunderland in England, Craig now lives in Australia and is an experienced diver, who has been working as an instructor for the last 10 years.

Craig told the BBC about his terrifying experience, saying after the boat disappeared, he was splashing and shouting in an attempt to get his friend’s attention but without success. He said he could feel his heart rate increase, due to his panic over being left behind.

Craig said he put his head under the water to find out if he was still in the same position, but spotted a huge 13ft tiger shark a few feet away. He said he then forgot about his boat and went into sheer survival mode. Keeping his head under water, he kept an eye on the shark and noticed it kept coming back to him.

Craig said it kept circling him and every now and then would dart towards him, leading to him using his spear gun to fend the shark off and keep it away.

British diver makes decision to swim for the shore with shark in tow

Craig went on to say he knew the boat wasn’t coming for him anytime soon, so his only way out was to swim towards the shore, around 4.7 miles away.

He added that was an awfully long swim to do with a 13ft tiger shark in tow.

Craig, who has been a diving instructor for around 10 years, said the shark was close behind him as he swam all the way to the shore.

Every time he looked behind him, he could see the shark’s huge head next to his fins. He added that his spear gun was pointing towards his fins to ensure the shark couldn’t get too close. Sometimes the shark would disappear, diving down, but would then come up again, either below him or on one side. Craig reckons this happened because he was panicking. The tiger shark then started swimming alongside him, almost as if it was escorting him to the shore. Eventually, authorities spotted Craig from the air and he was collected by a marine rescue boat.

As reported by the Guardian, while Craig had a terrifying experience with the tiger shark, he said people should not be discouraged from using Shark Bay as a snorkeling and diving location.

He explained that while tiger sharks are predators, humans are not on their menu. Craig explained the importance of the sharks in the oceans and saying that while it was scary at the time, the female tiger shark was a beautiful fish. He just wished he could have met her under different, and safer, conditions.