Great White shark fin spotted by school group turns out to be a prank

Terrified children on school trip spot fin of a Great White shark off British beach – only to learn it was a fake planted by a prankster

  • Prankster fools locals and school children with fake shark fin off Torquay
  • The stunt is reminiscent of fake fin scene from ‘Jaws’

This is the moment the fin of a Great White shark was spotted in UK waters in what turned out to be an elaborate prank straight from the plot of Jaws.

A joker went to great lengths to carve the shape of the distinctive dorsal fin out of hardened insulation foam which they painted dark grey.

They then fixed it to a wooden cross with a weight on the bottom that kept the fin afloat by itself.

It was placed in the sea about 300 metres off of Torquay, Devon, and left there.

The fake shark fin, made of insulation foam, captured before it was retrieved from the water

The fin after being recovered from the water. It was fixed to a wooden cross with a weight on the bottom that ensured it stayed afloat

The shark fin was spotted by an alarmed school teacher who was with a group of children on a sea safari trip.

He immediately told boat skipper Rob Hughes, of the Devon Sea Safari, who looked at it through his binoculars before making a beeline for it.

As the boat got closer Rob suspected it was a fake as the 2ft tall fin had not moved at all.

This was confirmed when he grabbed it and pulled the bizarre contraption out of the water.

The person behind it later put an anonymous post on Facebook confessing to the prank.

They said: ‘I’ve had fun and got the community talking. I just want to reassure everyone that you have nothing to fear in the sea. The recent shark was supposed to be for a personal video I didn’t expect anyone to notice.’

The trick comes just two days after a 15-year-old was attacked by a shark off the coast of a New York beach, and a month on from a man in Egypt being killed by a tiger shark in front of his father.

The person behind it later put an anonymous post on Facebook confessing to the prank

Beach goers sprint out of the water before finding out the fin was fake in the film ‘Jaws’

The prank had similarities to a plot line in the 1975 film Jaws when two boys strapped a homemade Great White shark fin to one of their backs to scare the swimmers of Amity Island.

But Rob said the stunt in Lyme Bay could have had a financial impact on already struggling businesses that rely on the tourist trade.

Rob said: ‘I had a school group on board and it was their teacher who pointed it out.

‘I looked at it through my binoculars and although it did look like a shark fin I had my suspicions.

The fake shark fin from the film ‘Jaws’, in which two young boys swim with a cardboard fin and scare swimmers out of the water

‘There was no tail fin and it wasn’t moving in the water.

‘I took some photos of it in case it was a fish of some sort and it disappeared but it just sat there.

‘When we got there we realised it was an elaborate model of the fin of a Great White shark that someone has gone to great lengths to create.

‘I can’t say I’m very impressed by it.

‘Pranks like this can have a very real effect on summer coastal businesses that are already struggling. Not to mention that it is basically deliberate marine littering.

‘Whatever the reasons behind this stunt people should rest assured there has never been any evidence of Great White sharks in south Devon.’

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