An Australian man who climbed atop a dead humpback whale this weekend to entertain friends quickly lost his sense of humor when sharks surrounded the carcass.
Friends of Harrison Williams, 26, filmed him as he pretended to “surf” the carcass floating off the coast of Western Australia. As seen in the video, laughing turned to screaming when friends noticed tiger sharks and at least one great white shark ripping at the rotting animal.
In an interview with CNN affiliate Seven Network, Williams asserts he’d seen the sharks before attempting the feat.
“[The sharks were] too busy chomping on the whale, so it wasn’t too bad,” Williams told Seven Network.
“Mum thinks I’m an idiot,” Williams added. “Dad’s not too proud either.” He’s since apologized for the stunt and admitted his mother is right.
Australia’s Department of Fisheries was also unhappy with Williams’ behavior, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Australian law stipulates swimmers stay at least 30 meters (98 feet) from whales or risk fines up to $10,000 Australian dollars. While Williams’ actions were risky, authorities said he won’t be fined; this whale was already dead, and Williams didn’t remove any part of it, another crime with a maximum $10,000 fine (PDF).
The carcass has since washed up on the beach in Scarborough, bringing feasting sharks shoreward and forcing authorities to close three beaches.