Imagine a ferocious, two and a half ton monster leaping out of the water below your feet, while you precariously dangle below a helicopter. If you’re scared of heights you might have other things on your mind.
A widely circulated photograph of a Great White Shark lunging out of the ocean toward a rescue worker in scuba gear, hanging on a ladder, dangling from a helicopter, showed just such a scene.
Originating in 2001, the image was sent via an email along with this statement: AND YOU THINK YOUR [sic] HAVING A BAD DAY AT WORK !!
Although this looks like a picture taken from a Hollywood movie, it is in fact a real photo, taken near the South African coast during a military exercise by the British Navy.
It has been nominated by National Geographic as ‘THE photo of the year’.
According to Wikipedia the image known as “Helicopter Shark” is a photomontage, an amalgamation of two photographs: one of a United States Air Force helicopter in front of the Golden Gate Bridge that was taken by Lance Cheung; and the other, showing a breaching Great White Shark off the coast of South Africa, which was taken by Charles Maxwell.
“Breaching,” a term used to describe airborne sharks, occurs commonly in False Bay, South Africa, where White Sharks known as “Air Jaws” hunt seals.
Suspicions of the image’s validity were raised when claims began surfacing that the Golden Gate Bridge, located in California, appears to be in the background of the image, despite the prankster’s claim that the photo was taken near South Africa. The prankster, however, has yet to come forward.
“I’d like to make contact with the person who did this — not to get him or her into trouble, but because it’s a lot of fun and it is a good job,” Charles Maxwell, the snapper of the Air Jaws photo seen in the amalgamation, told National Geographic. “However, I must make clear that I would not like to see this happen to one of my photographs again. It is wrong to take images from a web site without permission.”
He added that sales of the original photograph have notably increased since the doctored image began circulating on the internet. The image also resembles a scene in the 1966 film, “Batman,” where Batman, while hanging on a ladder and dangling from a helicopter, is attacked by a shark.
The “Helicopter Shark” image remains available all over the internet.
Jason Henry McCormick resides near the Golden Gate Bridge. He hopes Batman’s well.