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Hartlepool diver's incredible pictures of snappy shark's theft
A NORTH-EAST wildlife photographer has told of the dramatic and terrifying moment he saw a tiger shark grab a colleague’s £11,000 camera.
Dr Miguel Lasa, 49, of Hartlepool, was swimming without a cage in the Bahamas when a tiger shark approached and snatched the camera from a guide’s hands, dropping it 100 metres away.
Despite fearing for his life Dr Lasa, a GP, managed to take a series of photographs of the shark with the equipment.
The tiger shark is the world’s second most dangerous breed, just behind the great white, and Dr Lasa said he wouldn’t repeat the experience.
The guide was unharmed and even managed to pick up his camera which, incredibly, was barely marked.
Dr Lasa, who lives with his wife, a nurse, said: “The shark literally took the camera straight from the hands of our guide photographer.
“The equipment has arms and strobes attached so it immediately attracted the attention of the shark, it's very bulky so it was easy for the shark to grab hold of.
“They are very powerful and can swim long distances very fast.
“Luckily though the shark decided to drop the camera onto the sea bed about 100 metres away.
“At the time I was diving without a cage, it was a great experience but I wouldn't do it again as it was too dangerous.
“When I saw the shark take the camera from the photographer I rushed to try and get a shot. Fortunately I managed to get it.
"I was scared though. You never know when a shark is getting too close. They have powerful bites and could take your arm or leg off in a split second.
“I wasn't worried about my camera but I was worried for my personal safety.
“I've never seen anything like this before. It was an amazing event.”
Tiger sharks’ usual prey is varied and can include anything from crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, and sea snakes, to dolphins and even other smaller sharks. It is considered a near threatened species due to fishing by humans.
Dr Lasa, who was born in Spain, is a former winner of BBC wildlife photographer of the year competition and travels around the world in his spare time, taking photographs of creatures including polar bears, tigers, cheetah and wild birds.
His work has been published in many magazines and books around the world and he has co-authored a book of wild birds in flight.
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