NEW YORK — A Long Island fisherman posted a video of a great white shark devouring a dead whale last week, and YouTube is eating it up.
Michael Maiale went shark fishing with friends in Long Beach, N.Y., on June 14, hoping for a fresh catch. But the “typical day on the boat” turned into a sighting of a whale carcass almost twice the size of the 29-foot boat.
Maiale said he thought the carcass was another boat at first until he smelled an odor so strong that it had to be the body of an animal. Seconds later, Maiale and his friends noticed a large mark on the fish finder. They saw a dorsal fin emerging out of the water about 45 miles from the shore.
“Do you see this thing? It’s a great white, dude!” fisherman Liam Lyons said as he captured the video.
“Get it in the water!” Maiale said, referring to his friend’s GoPro camera.
The shark gets up-close and personal with the camera, both under and above the water. At one point, the viewer can see inside the shark’s mouth to glance at his razor-sharp teeth. The shark can be heard bumping against the camera. Like a scene out of “Jaws,” the shark tries to bite at the boat’s motor.
The great white eventually makes its way over to the whale, and the lens becomes slightly blurred as he munches at the carcass and blood rushes out of the body.
Maiale said this went on for a total of about six hours, which was condensed into a three-minute YouTube video.
Since the video was uploaded to YouTube last Friday, it has reached more than 600,000 views. Maiale told CNN that he posted it to Facebook expecting to get 25 to 50 likes but woke up the next morning with 25,000 views. After the first 100,000 views, he received various licensing offers for the video and accepted one.
Lyons said that he understood the danger of being about 6 inches away from the shark while filming, but told CNN that with five years of experience with shark-fishing, he knew exactly when to back up. Still, he admits that this was the largest shark he’s ever come into contact with and says it’s likely that they will never see one of that size again.
There were other sharks in the water at the time of the video, Maiale said, but none came close in size to the great white.
According to shark research group OCEARCH, there is also a 1,200-pound tiger shark in area waters right now, so it’s important to proceed with great caution in deep waters.