Take a trip to a beach and you’ll see kids throwing sand and jumping over sunbathers. You’ll hear the roar of crashing waves, and smell that pungent odor of salt and sunscreen. The truth is, nowhere invites friendly chaos quite like a public shore.
So when a man with a drone camera went to a crowded Bahamas beach in 2017, he knew the potential was there for some fun and action-packed drone footage. Still, within the organized tumult of a public beach, he didn’t expect to capture a life-threatening scene within seconds of pressing record…
Cameraman Artem Tkachenko, left, carved quite the niche for himself in the YouTube community by creating videos that captured all the natural beauty of the Bahamas — from its crystal blue waters to the picture-perfect beaches.
But Artem didn’t make his movies by setting up a camera on a tripod. Instead, he worked with drones, piloting a remote-controlled aircraft high above the terrain so he could snag one-of-a-kind photos and videos.
This particular video, like so many of his others, took place on one of the many 700 islands that make up the Bahamas archipelago. There, on a beach packed with tourists and locals, Artem released his drone.
Artem — seen on the beach in blue shorts with the drone controller — flew the tiny aircraft up above the pristine blue waters. Maybe he wanted shots of laughing swimmers, but he captured something else entirely…
The action started when the drone camera picked up a little kid running out into the pure blue waters. Sensing something worth filming, Artem panned the drone — and boy was that kid lucky he did!
Because when Artem re-positioned his drone, he caught a narrow shadow gliding through the water and heading straight for the boy. On the shore, he stared into the video transmitted by the camera, hoping that his eyes were lying to him.
But they weren’t. The shark was making a direct line for the swimmer, and, in an instant, visions of 6 o’clock news segments discussing brutal shark attacks danced through Artem’s head.
Worse, there wasn’t just one shark descending on the swimmer, but a whole frenzy of them! Artem watched the scene unfolding on video while helpless on the shore. The boy, oblivious, kept playing.
In fact, the boy even turned his back to the oncoming sharks! It was right about then Artem’s instincts took over — the next few seconds were critical if he planned on intervening and saving the boy’s life.
Hoping to avoid a Jaws moment, Artem called out to the boy, warning him of the sharks heading his way. His booming shout cut through the waves breaking on the shore, but the boy took a second to process. Meanwhile…
Jaws / Universal / The Kobal Collection
The first shark and his crew swam within feet of the boy. One quick lunge — one simple strike — and they’d be close enough to sink their teeth. The boy, meanwhile, dove beneath the water, fighting to reach the nearby shore.
Just as the sharks closed in, the boy scampered away from retreating waves and jumped onto the safety of the shore, his heart beating like a war drum. With his feet on the sand, he spared one glance back at the sharks.
The sharks circled, slow and deliberate as if cursing the meddling drone operator. Still, despite the moment of heroism, Artem didn’t grab the nearest cape and cowl and call himself Batman. He took a much more humble approach.
When later asked about the moment he caught on camera, Artem simply said, “Thank God he heard me.” No doubt, this story would’ve been much different had the little boy missed his calls — or would it have been?
Some folks online — as they are prone to do — suggested Artem’s video was not as sinister as it appeared. The sharks making their ways towards the swimming boy, YouTube commenters said, were not your typical great white.
More specifically, critics said the video feature nurse sharks — bottom-dwelling fish that pose virtually no threat to humans (despite dozens of tiny serrated teeth they’re willing to deploy in self-defense). But Artem said otherwise.
The man who spent more than a handful of hours on Bahamas beaches told doubters that there were two species of sharks in the video. While some were harmless nurse sharks, the rest would’ve gladly had some human for lunch.
Either way, thanks to his drone, Artem caught a truly heart-hammering scene on camera. In the pursuit of his art, he very well might have saved a life. Let’s see a Nikon on a tripod do that!
When you check out the video below, imagine yourself on the beach with Artem, or even in the water with the little boy. The tension felt on those shores in these thirty seconds must’ve been unreal!
Think of the odds that Artem would be out on the beach with his drone camera at the same time sharks descended on that little boy. Truly, this was a once-in-a-lifetime shot, and he saved a life because of it.