TERRIFYING aerial footage shows around 50 sharks prowling in the waters off a beach in Australia.
The clip was captured on a stretch of coast between the towns of Moruya and Broulee in New South Wales on Sunday.
Shot from a helicopter, it showed dark shapes clustered in groups in the shallow waters just off the shore.
The helicopter is run by the Westpac Life Saver rescue service, news.com.au reported.
The surveillance allowed coastguards to alert members of the public to the danger and clear the waters.
Writing on Facebook, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters said: “The Moruya Lifesaver crew undertaking a few preventive actions with over 50 sharks sighted between Moruya and Broulee and both the Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club and our crew taking some actions to ensure all were safe.
“Remember to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags and be alert.”
Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club later added: “Big shout out to our eyes in the sky for alerting us to quite a few gilled friends hanging with us at South Brou today.
“Great teamwork between the chopper and club assets keeping all our swimmers safe.”
Dozens of social media users commented on the clip to congratulate and thank the team for their work.
"Well done guys / girls," one wrote.
"Well done alerting us to the risk," said another.
A third joked: "THIS IS WHY THE BEACH IS BAD!!"
So far this year, nine people have been killed in a total of 68 shark attacks worldwide, the highest figure since 2013.
Of the nine, seven died in Australia, the country's highest count for 86 years.
Australia has seen at least two mass closures of beaches this year following sightings of large numbers of great whites in particular areas.
Experts have suggested that a number of environmental factors, including weather events that pushed sharks' usual prey inland, could account for the slight rise in fatal attacks on humans.
It's also been suggested that overfishing of small species could be bringing sharks closer to the shore in search of food.
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