When photographer Dan Watson took his five kids to the New Smyrna Beach in Florida for the day, he was hoping to use his drone to capture a few shots of his kids splashing around in the water. However, once he got his drone up in the air and looked at its footage from an app on his phone, he got a whole lot more than he bargained for when he saw a giant shadow — aka a shark — making its way toward his children. Thanks to his dad instincts, Dan put an end to a potentially life-threatening situation.
"Within 30 seconds of getting the drone up into the air, I started seeing the shadow moving through the water," Dan told BuzzFeed. He immediately screamed, "Shark!" and tried to get his wife's attention. "I'm screaming at my wife, who is a little bit closer to the kids, and we're running out to get them and yelling at them to get in."
"It looked very close on the drone camera, from what I was seeing, and it was moving fairly quickly."
During the chaos, Dan managed to click a button on the drone controller to snap a few photos. "I was worried that they wouldn't get out in time," he explained. "It looked very close on the drone camera, from what I was seeing, and it was moving fairly quickly," he said, adding that: "It's kids — you never quite know if they're going to instantly respond. Thankfully they did get that terrified response and started running very, very quickly."
Fortunately, everyone got out of the water in time and there were no injuries. "I know there are sharks in the area. I do not think — or did not think — they are in shallowish waters where people would generally be," said Dan. "It will be a little while before [my wife] lets the kids back in the water."
Looking back on the incident, Dan is eternally grateful he chose to bring his drone to the beach that day, especially because an 18-year-old surfer was attacked by a shark at the very same beach a week later. "There would have been no way to have known or seen about this from any way, except that I happened to fly the drone at that moment in time," he said. For now, the Watson family plans to stick to the sand. "I think we're going to practice building some sandcastles next time we go."