Huge 9ft shark ‘feeding’ during close encounter with snorkeler off UK coast

A huge nine-foot-long shark was feeding during a close encounter with a snorkeler just off the UK coast.

Craig Nisbet, 42, who works for National Trust for Scotland (NTS), spotted the sea beast swimming off of the St Kilda archipelago, which contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

He had managed to see the animal's fins and snout from the beach at Village Bay.

Mr Nisbet quickly grabbed his snorkelling gear and camera and rushed out to meet it in the hope of having a swim with it, and to his amazement, the creature was still there once he managed to swim out the BBC reports.

He even managed to swim within one metre of the incredible animal during the incredible encounter.

Mr Nisbet said: "I returned to land, scarcely able to believe what I'd just seen. I washed my camera and downloaded my images and video and was delighted with the images and footage I'd captured."

He added: "It was clearly feeding, occasionally closing its mouth to swallow microscopic zooplankton sifted out through the water as it went."

Basking sharks are often seen in British waters, with several recent sightings up and down the country.

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They are the second-largest living shark behind whale sharks, with adults typically reaching more than 25ft in length.

Their sheer size often sparks alarm among witnesses, with one previous sighting being compared to a "scene like Jaws".

But the huge sea creatures are actually completely harmless to humans as they feed solely on plankton.

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The sighting comes just days after a popular beach in Bournemouth was evacuated following reports of a shark sighting in the area.

One witness said his 11-year-old son was “lucky to be alive” after his “leg was brushed” by the shark.

This week another massive basking shark was spotted off the coast of Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk.

Kerry Hester, 47, was holidaying with her two daughters, aged 13 and seven when she spotted the chilling shape of a fin.

Basking sharks are the world's second-largest fish, after whale sharks, and can grow up to 10m long.

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