Film crew for Sir David Attenborough’s Netflix show Our Planet II are attacked by tiger


‘It was like something out of Jaws’: Sir David Attenborough’s film crew are attacked by tiger sharks in terrifying ordeal while filming for Our Planet II, director reveals

  • Sharks attack crew in seas around Laysan in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
  • Crew were in inflatable boats and had to make an emergency landing on sand

Sir David Attenborough‘s film crew were attacked by two 15ft tiger sharks while filming for Our Planet II, the director of the new Netflix series has revealed.

The team’s ordeal happened in the seas around Laysan, a very remote location in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands which is nearly 1,000 miles away from Honolulu.

The crew were attacked by the sharks while in inflatable boats and had to make an emergency landing on the sand, describing it as ‘like something out of Jaws’.

Series producer Huw Cordey told The Sun: ‘The original idea was to do an underwater shoot with the tiger sharks waiting in the shallows at Laysan.

‘But the first day the tiger sharks were around, the crew got into these inflatable boats – and two sharks attacked them. It was like something out of Jaws.

Tiger sharks feature in the new Netflix series Our Planet II which has now been released

Tiger sharks feature in the new Netflix series Our Planet II which has now been released

A 15ft tiger shark which was filmed for the new wildlife documentary series Our Planet II

A 15ft tiger shark which was filmed for the new wildlife documentary series Our Planet II

The documentary team also filmed albatross birds during their visit to the seas around Laysan

The documentary team also filmed albatross birds during their visit to the seas around Laysan

‘The crew panicked and basically made an emergency landing on the sand. Suffice to say, they didn’t get any underwater shots.’

The show’s director Toby Nowlan also spoke this week about the incident, revealing the crew had spent five days sailing to reach the area and then set out in inflatable boats to find the sharks.

He told Radio Times: ‘This ‘v’ of water came streaming towards us and this tiger shark leapt at the boat and bit huge holes in it. The whole boat exploded.

‘We were trying to get it away and it wasn’t having any of it. It was horrific. That was the second shark that day to attack us.’

The crew were only about 300ft (100m) from land at the time, so they managed to get the boat back to the beach with the little inflation it had left.

Mr Nowlan revealed that they then fixed the craft and sent out a small rubber dinghy, which was attacked by giant trevally that knocked its motor out.

He described the sharks’ behaviour as ‘extremely unusual’, adding: ‘They were incredibly hungry, so there might not have been enough natural food and they were just trying anything they came across in the water.’

The sharks had travelled as far as 2,000 miles to the area, where they often feed on albatross chicks who can be relatively easy prey when they fly for the first time.

Our Planet II is a four-part wildlife documentary series narrated by Sir David which was released on Netflix yesterday. Other notable segments include lions stalking a Cape buffalo in the Kalahari, and 200 billion locusts swarming towards the Red Sea.

Our Planet II is a new Netflix wildlife documentary series narrated by Sir David Attenborough

Our Planet II is a new Netflix wildlife documentary series narrated by Sir David Attenborough 

Albatross birds are in the Our Planet II episode filmed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Albatross birds are in the Our Planet II episode filmed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

A feature on the series in the Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine by TV critic Christopher Stevens said it has ‘four episodes of the most sumptuous animal photography ever seen, and all crammed with moments of life-and-death tension’.

The article includes an interview with Mr Cordey, who explained how the show uses cliffhanger techniques, adding: ‘No one has done this in natural history before.’

He said: ‘The first series of Our Planet in 2019 was incredibly popular. But we realised, analysing the data, that people weren’t watching it in any particular order. 

‘They were jumping around – if they loved penguins, for instance, they might start with the polar episode. This time, we want viewers to follow a story, one part after the next, as you do with a great drama. We planned this right from the start.’

Our Planet II is available to stream on Netflix now



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