Drone owner sounds alarm as shark approaches surfer at Illawarra beach

A still from drone footage at Werri Beach by Christopher Joye.
A still from drone footage at Werri Beach by Christopher Joye.

Quick thinking from an amateur drone owner has alerted a surfer to an unwanted companion in the waters off a NSW beach.

Christopher Joye, a contributing editor at the Australian Financial Review and adrone enthusiast, captured footage of a large shark approaching a surfer just after midday Sunday at Werri Beach, south of Wollongong.

Mr Joye was patrolling the beach actively looking for sharks with a new specialised search and rescue drone, called a Mavic Enterprise 2, that has an infra-red thermal imaging capability and a speaker system that enables him to communicate with swimmers and surfers.

"Great whites are actually warm-blooded in contrast to most cold-blooded sharks," he said.

"I saw this large shark that looked about three metres to four metres circling a surfer.

"The surfer was completely oblivious even though the water was very clear.

"I used the speaker system to warn the surfer as the shark started clearly heading towards him.

"As the surfer swung his board towards the beach the animal was spooked and thankfully bolted back out to sea.

"To me it looked like either a bronze whaler or a great white, but I am not sure.

"I have seen numerous sharks at Werri using drones but this is the first time I have been able to warn anyone with the speaker system. It is also the first time I have seen one heading for a surfer."

This story Watch shark head straight for unaware surfer first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.