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Sharks circle as stranded Satellite Beach diver films with GoPro

Diver's boat drifted away

Randy Fales is OK after an encounter with two sharks on Sunday morning in the waters off Brevard County.    (Photo: Randy and Carleigh Fales)
Randy Fales is OK after an encounter with two sharks on Sunday morning in the waters off Brevard County. (Photo: Randy and Carleigh Fales)

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – Imagine being stranded in the Atlantic Ocean, treading water as sharks swim underneath you.

It sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie, but it actually happened to Randy Fales, 68, of Satellite Beach.

“The thought of the movie ‘Open Water,’ you just think, wow, this is just like the movie,” Fales said.

News 6 partner Florida Today reports that he said he went out with his family on Sunday morning on a boating trip when he decided to engage in spear fishing underwater, nothing particularly unusual given that Fales has been a scuba diver since 1980.

He dived in as family members on the boat enjoyed their morning while watching a plastic jug tied to the anchor line that would tell them the area where Fales was diving.

The problem for all involved, however, is that the line separated from the jug so that  the diver and boat were well away from each other. Fales noted that a 10- to 15-knot wind pushed the jug away.

“When I got on the surface, I got around and there wasn’t a boat in sight,” Fales said. “I picked up on a wave to see as far as I could and no boat.”

As if that wasn’t enough, about six minutes after he surfaced, Fales saw a shark swimming underneath him, something he managed to capture on a GoPro camera.

The shark, which he estimated to be “probably 6 to 8 feet” in length, got a little more aggressive each time  it passed by Fales.

“He came real close to me one time and when I kicked, I kicked his pectoral fin,” he said.

As he swam for about an hour after he surfaced, he then noticed a second shark emerged in his general area.

Fortunately, after about an hour and a half, he was picked up by another boat. He was eventually reunited with his relieved family.

The family in the boat, meanwhile, had issues contacting the Coast Guard due to a poor signal, only exacerbating their worries.

“I got to the point where I was like, ‘Oh no, we’ve lost our dad,’ and then we can’t even get through to anyone and it was just kind of a scary feeling,” said Carleigh Fales, Randy’s daughter. “I was just so happy when we saw them (the boat carrying her dad). We were so relieved that these guys picked them up.”

Most people would consider what Fales went through harrowing, to say the least, but Fales doesn’t see it that way.

“It wasn’t really that scary of a situation,” said Randy Fales.

Despite all this, he said he hopes to get back out into the water soon.

“In fact, I’m hoping to be able to go diving this weekend,” he added.