A man high-fives his friend and dives into Sydney Harbour with a GoPro camera attached to his head. Almost immediately, his friend is waving and yelling, “Shark!” Then we are thrust into his heart-pounding escape from a great white shark. Or are we?
The video, called, “GoPro: Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour” and posted June 11 by Terry Tufferson, has gone viral. It has been viewed more than 18 million times and has inspired more than 13,000 comments. But some say it’s fake.
News reports about the video are mixed. Some, like nydailynews.com, call it a “terrifying online video” in which a man swims with a shark, while others, like wtsp.com, call the footage “amazing,” but questions the video’s authenticity.
Some are calling the 0:59 second mark into question. They say it reveals editing because, as one online commenter put it, “The diver dips his head into the water to see the shark approaching. It is at that point the video is spliced because in just a few tenths of a second, the shark seems to teleport from the middle of the video to the lower left corner.”
Some have gone so far as to create passionate YouTube videos of their own to explain why they think the video is fake.
A guy named Tim Engelbrecht, who calls himself a “full-time conspiracy theorist,” agrees about the teleporting. And Craig Turner, a “YouTuber and video producer,” says, “It’s so fake it makes my brain bleed” and gives us nine long-winded reasons why he thinks so.
But not all viewers are convinced.
“Unless I see the original footage I can’t say for sure, but I think it is real,” said Richard Farr, a digital video expert, in this Daily Telegraph.
One online commenter wrote, “no the shark doesn’t teleport... If you hold down your space button and watch it in full-screen you will see that the dude just quickly turns his head to the right.”
Another commenter wrote, “You can even see rocks under the shark, and the water colour is the same during the video. I think it’s real.”
Now consider this.
According to the Daily Telegraph story, a second shark video was posted with footage eerily similar to Tufferson’s on the same day. That video is called “‘Almost’ great White Shark Attack – Newport Beach, Australia.” And the legs of the person swimming near the shark look similar to the legs in Tufferson’s video, people say. Check it out for yourself:
The debate continues. What do you think?Kristi Palma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @kristipalma.