Diver grapples with 12ft tiger shark
Craig Clasen went head to head with the aggressive predator, shooting it seven times with a spear gun, when it was about to attack another fisherman.
Mr Clasen was hunting yellow finned tuna with his friends Cameron Kirkconnell, photographer D J Struntz and film maker Ryan McInnis in the Gulf of Mexico when the close encounter happened.
The group were about to leave the deep waters south of the Mississippi River’s mouth, when Mr McInnis found himself alone in the company of the tiger shark.
Mr Clasen, 32, grabbed his spear gun and swam to help his friend, who was being circled by the giant predator.
He said: “I positioned myself between Ryan and the shark and I tried to watch it for a second, hoping it would pass us by.
“I noticed that the shark was getting tighter and tighter and just kept trying to get a back angle on us and behaving in an aggressive manner.
“The shark made a roll and looked like it was going to charge us so I just went ahead and took the conservative route and put a shaft through its gills.
“Cameron and I have been around sharks for years and we all have a lot of experience with them but this encounter had a different feel to it.
“Down in my core I really felt the shark was there to feed. I didn’t want it to come to that.”
Mr Clasen, from Mississippi, spent nearly two hours wrestling with the 12ft (3.6m) shark, spearing it seven times and even attempting to drown the beast before eventually finishing it off with a long blade knife in June last year.
He said: “Once I shot it in the gills I felt a moral obligation to finish the job.
“I didn’t want it to go on any longer than it had to. I shot the fish like I would do any other fish and worked it up closer and did my best to kill it as humanely as possible.
“I speared it in the gills which I knew would kill it and from that I tried to put a shaft into its brain as quickly as possible.
“I shot it six times in the head with a spear and I wasn’t having much luck – it was a slow drawn out process.
“Sharks are so resilient and so tough from millions of years of evolution they are just survivors.
“The best way and quickest way to finish the job and kill the shark and recover it was to get a rope around its tail, drag it from the back of the boat and attempt to drown it.
“In the end we had put a knife its skull. Once I got close enough to it I used a long blade knife, even after trying to drown it.”