British diver makes terrifying three-hour swim for his life after losing his boat and finding himself being hunted by a Tiger shark

Sebastian Mann
Marathon ordeal: John Craig, an experienced diver, swam more than four miles to shore

A British diver has told how he was hunted by a shark for hours in a nerve-shredding ordeal after becoming stranded at sea.

John Craig, 34, was stalked by a four-metre long tiger shark off the west coast of Australia after losing sight of his boat during a spear-fishing trip, reports said.

He told the BBC: "It was extremely close and curious and kept approaching me from different angles. It was trying to work out what I was and whether I could be on the menu.

"It was terrifying. I thought I was just going to be eaten out here in the middle of nowhere... this shark is just not leaving me alone."

Safety: Mr Craig was reunited with his wife after finally being rescued

Mr Craig said he noticed the man-eating shark circling him after he surfaced in the middle of the ocean hours from land and began splashing for help.

He used his spear gun to ward off the curious animal before realising he would have to start swimming a long 4.5 miles towards the shore he could see distantly on the horizon.

"At this point I thought I was gone - four nautical miles out to sea with a huge tiger shark following me - I thought this was it, this is how I am going to die," Mr Craig said.

His marathon effort lasted three hours until he reached land and was reunited with his wife after being rescued by search crews who had been alerted to his disappearance.

The Sunderland man, an experienced diver who moved to Australia two years ago, said his swim was “pure endurance”.

He told 9News: "For about 500 metres the shark swam on the same path as me towards the shore and then in a moment banked and disappeared completely as if to say 'you're OK now, I'll leave you alone'.

"The shark was gone but I wasn't sure it wouldn't return.

"The next part was pure endurance - I had to swim constantly looking around from all angles to make sure there wasn't an unwelcome visitor, with my spear gun pointed behind me to stop anything grabbing my fins."

The epic ordeal took place off the Gascoyne coast, about 460 miles north of Perth, in an area of water aptly named Shark Bay.

Shark Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue commander Greg Ridgley said the diver's experience made for "an absolutely incredible story".

He told Perth's Sunday Times: "He swam…in shark-infested waters. I just can't believe anybody could do that. It's such a massive effort."

Tiger sharks are second only to great whites for their record of attacking humans.

According to National Geographic, the “large, blunt-nosed predators have a duly earned reputation as man-eaters” and rarely swim away after biting people because they have such an undiscerning palate.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes