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Md. Man Has Close Encounter With Great White; Pets Shark Off Ocean City Coast

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland man has a very close encounter with a large great white shark off Ocean City’s coast.

Alex DeMetrick reports that might not sound ideal, but it makes for a heck of a story and quite a unique experience.

It happened five miles off Ocean City’s beach in a 24-foot fishing boat. Aaron Caplan was looking over the side.

“And I just saw this huge shadow that was coming straight toward us. And I told my friends on the boat, ‘Guys, don’t freak out, but there’s something coming our way,'” Caplan said.

Caplan managed to capture the great white shark, 13 to 15 feet long, on video. It was drawn in by the scent of bait.

“He just came right after the motor and bit down on the lower unit of the motor,” Caplan said. “And at first, it was actually kind of scary because we didn’t expect that at all. But then, we just kind of realized he was just circling us trying to find food. It was just struggling to find it.”

As it turns out, this has been something of a shark summer for Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula.

In June, a teen was bitten by a shark in Delaware. In July, a bull shark was spotted off Sandy Point State Park in the bay. And last week, researchers who had earlier caught a large tiger shark and attached a satellite transmitter tracked it as it meandered into the Ocean City inlet and cruised beneath visitors enjoying a day on the Isle of Wight Bay.

But other than the Delaware attack:

“The chances of getting attacked by a shark are very, very slim. It happens, unfortunately,” said Alan Heninger, National Aquarium in Baltimore.

But experts say even with an uptick in sightings, presence doesn’t necessarily mean danger.

“But even then, know that they are there and nothing ever happens,” said Heninger.

For Aaron Caplan and his friends:

“He came right up next to the boat and we actually got to pet it. It was like majestic, the way it moved through the water. It didn’t look like a blood thirsty animal that wanted to kill us,” he said.

And after snatching a bag of bait, it swam away.

When he’s not out petting great white sharks, Aaron is a student at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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