A man has gone viral on TikTok sharing the moment he was caught in shark-infested waters for three hours, after his boat capsized.
Cody Love, 24, from Cairns, Queensland, was hoping for a day of tranquil diving last month – but an extreme current saw things take a dangerous turn.
Watch the heartstopping footage in the video player above
After anchoring his vessel near the Great Barrier Reef and diving for just 20 minutes, poor visibility underwater saw him return to his boat, but shortly after a large set of waves caused havoc as the vessel capsized.
Cody was trapped and alone in the middle of the ocean – barring the company of sharks, who lurked nearby.
In a clip that was filmed on March 15, which has since been viewed over nine million times on TikTok, he can be seen treading breathlessly in open water while he lets off a flare in a desperate bid for help.
In a separate clip, he can be seen swimming in the ocean, still in full diving gear, before sarcastically saying: “Great day at the Reef,” with the bow of his sunken boat bobbing in the distance.
“I had dropped my partner at work and found out the boss didn’t need me that day and, seeing as I had been storing my boat at my partner’s workshop, I decide to head out for a quick half-day trip to refill my freezers,” Cody, a mine worker, told Jam Press.
“I furled up and got the boat ready around 9am and headed out towards one of my regular spots [that] I have been diving [at] every weekend for the past six weeks with friends.
“Unfortunately, everyone else was working so that’s why I headed out to sea by myself.”
The day was going well until a few sets of waves came through, causing the anchor rope tp get tangled around the propeller, which sent the boat spinning backwards.
“Before I could do anything the boat was swamped by waves and began to lean to one side as it filled with water.
“As I fell to one side the Esky [name of his boat] came sliding over as well and next thing I remember the boat was upside down and I was underwater trying to figure out what had just happened.
“It all happened in a matter of seconds and took me by surprise. At this point, I still had all my diving gear on.”
Over the next 10 minutes, Cody frantically swam around trying to collect as many of his belongings as he could from the water.
After several dives around the boat, he soon realised the plastic container with my safety gear in hadn’t fallen out.
It was still somewhere in the front of the boat.
“I then found the packet of safety flares which I started readying and tucking into my wetsuit.
“This included a red handheld flare for night-time and a red parachute flare for night-time as well.
“At this stage, the anchor rope had become untangled from the propeller and I soon found myself and the boat at the mercy of the ocean – drifting north with the tide.”
Despite the two flares releasing plumes of orange smoke for 30 seconds each, neither was successful in getting the attention of passing boats.
Cody then attempted to put an orange safety sheet over his boat to attract the attention of passing planes, but it blew away.
“It had probably been an hour since my boat first capsized.
“After another 30 minutes, I was looking up into the sky and saw a red helicopter flying directly towards me from a distance away.
“I took one of my green flippers off and stuck it on the end of my gun to try and attract their attention but unfortunately, a person in the water is like a needle in a haystack when you’re up in a helicopter.
“The helicopter got closer and closer, before turning away and heading in the opposite direction.
“Seeing that helicopter gave me so much hope that help was coming, then all of that hope was taken away as it turned and flew away.”
Two hours later, Cody became desperate and set off an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and “hoped for the best” – while drifting into deeper water where sharks were lurking.
He said: “At the particular spot where the boat flipped, we had seen over six big tiger sharks up to four metres in length over the weeks prior to this trip.
“Not much in the ocean scares me as I have spent so much time on the water and underwater – but it was beautiful when I heard the sound of another helicopter and I could see from the distance that is what the Q-air rescue chopper.
“I let go of the boat, swam over and sat below the helicopter as they sent down their rescue diver, he reached me in the water, put the sling around me and we both got winched back into the helicopter.”
Cody was given fluids and checked over by the rescue crew, where he was found to be in perfectly good health.
He has since credited his diving experience for saving his life.
The diver said: “I am a certified PADI rescue diver and have a lot of experience in the water including over 5,000 scuba dives.
“I was actually more worried about losing or damaging the boat.
“I would have to say my first piece of advice is: never go diving by yourself.
“You can be the greatest diver in the world but accidents do happen and I was quite thankful I came out of this one alive as it could have ended a lot worse.”
Cody later shared footage on TikTok, where the videos amassed more than 400,000 likes, with people commenting comparing it to the sinking of the Titanic.
One person commented: “That would be the scariest thing to happen.”
“Bro thats my fear man the ocean its too scary,” another person agreed. [sic]
Someone else said: “My anxiety is through the roof.”
Others chose to look on the bright side, with one person saying: “Bro at least he can see the bottom imagine his boat went down to the darkness.”
“Look at the bright side, you are safe and a shark did not decide to investigate what was going on there,” another optimistic viewer pointed out.