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These divers got to witness a great white shark firsthand — and they got video

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By LULI ORTIZ, WPEC

JUPITER, Fla. (CIRCA via WPEC) — A group of Florida freedivers came face to face with a great white shark.

It happened while they were spearfishing about three miles from the shore off Jupiter on Sunday.

However, the experience was not a hair-raising encounter for Tommy Allore of Stuart.

"I think everyone was just excited," he said. "We knew how special that moment was. It's not common to see them, especially out of a cage, underwater. I knew I wanted to get down there and get a photo with it. Luckily, it stayed around long enough to capture that."

Allore's GoPro camera video shows the moment his friend got close to the great white as it looped around a ship wreck and a cobia.

"I probably got about 20 feet away. It was just awesome. Making eye-contact with a great white is just a unique situation. It was just beautiful,” he said.

Allore estimates the shark was between 10 and 13 feet.

Surprisingly, Allore, his wife and their friends were calm the entire time.

"There's a level of respect. You understand the power of the animal, but it wasn't a fear," he said. "It was more adrenaline. The fact that we're sighting is a good sign for our marine ecosystem."

If you encounter a great white shark, Allore said to avoid splashing and to stay calm.

"That can definitely attract a shark and that might lure them in just to check you out," he said. "Even then, once they realize what you are, they are not really interested. We are far more harmful to sharks than sharks are to us. They need to be respected."

Allore said a Massachusetts-based shark research organization told him the great white's name is "Salty the Shark."

It was tagged and identified in Cape Cod back in 2012.

Local shark expert Jim Abernethy told Circa partner WPEC that this great white shark spotting swimming near humans is nothing to be worried about from a safety standpoint.

“Over the last 25 years, roughly 75 people are mistakenly bitten by sharks and then released," he said. "And from that, less than five people per year actually die from that bite."

Last year, the International Shark Attack File investigated 130 shark bites worldwide.

Out of those cases, 66 were unprovoked while 34 were provoked attacks on humans.

Some things you can do to make sure you aren’t attacked include:

  • Avoid swimming in murky water
  • Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and at night
  • Avoid high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry
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