‘Flying Shark’ photo changed this man’s life

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Pajeroa Usoc Huerta thought he was going to die after being struck by rogue wave off the coast of Goa

‘Flying Shark’ photo changed this man’s life

A photograph of a “flying shark” off the coast of Goa has caused a sensation in the popular tourist destination, nearly 50 years after it first emerged in the news.

When the picture was taken in 1969, the picture of the brown shark – nicknamed the “flying shark” – was headline news.

The chief of military intelligence was summoned to investigate and the Indian navy dispatched a naval frigate to hunt the “flying shark”.

However, by the time the hunt was over, several days had passed and it was clear that there was no shark.

“We assumed at the time that there was no such animal – it was all an elaborate lie,” the then navy chief, Admiral B. D. Prakash, later told the Times of India.

In 2008 a photograph appeared online and it quickly became internet folklore, gaining recognition not only in India but in the US as well.

In 2014 a local newspaper, the Global New Light, added to the mystery by writing: “Witnesses said the shark was black. It was about 50 to 60 metres long and looked like a bulldozer.”

The newspaper drew a connection between the swimming fin and Gandhi’s famous quotation: “If only I had a beard.”

The Guardian’s story about the photograph led to online entries, which included the claim that the creature had been killed in a drone strike, or that it had been captured in a sandwich.

Few attempts were made to identify the shark, which grew too big to catch.

The paper said Prakash decided to rule out the attacking shark as a potential cause of drowning death because “the pain and the cold would have inflicted maximum damage”.

Its list of possible causes ended there.

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