Docuseries film crew attacked by tiger sharks: 'Like something out of 'Jaws' '

A film crew nearly shot its own real-life "Jaws" movie when tiger sharks swarmed inflatable boats and attacked photographers off the coast of one of the Hawaiian Islands.

The crew was in shallow water near Laysan, a northwestern Hawaiian Island, to capture footage for Netflix's docuseries "Planet II" when the 15-foot sharks changed their plans.

"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," series producer Huw Cordey told Forbes. 

"It was like something out of ‘Jaws.’ The crew was panicked and basically made an emergency landing on the sand."

The crew producer/director Toby Nowlan told, "This ‘V' of water came streaming towards us, and this tiger shark leapt at the boat a bit huge holes in it.

"The whole boat exploded," Nowlan said. "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."

Nowlan told the outlet a shark attack was rare and theorizes that there wasn't "enough natural food, and they were just trying anything they came across in the water."

Tiger sharks are known for being aggressive "garbage" predators that eat essentially anything, according to, a global organization dedicated to protecting and restoring ocean life around the world. specifically mentions information about tiger sharks around Hawaii, which are known to regularly eat green turtles and Hawaiian monk seals, but scientists have observed tiger sharks munching on flippers in confusion. 

"Finally, tiger sharks have been known to bite people, and their rather large size leads to occasional fatalities, particularly in areas where large numbers of people use the ocean recreationally," according to 


1. Tiger sharks can grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m) and 2,000 pounds (900 kg), making it one of the largest shark species.

2. Tiger sharks are named for the distinctive, gray vertical stripes or spots covering the sides of their bodies.

3. Tiger sharks are known for eating almost anything, including other sharks, fish, seabirds, dolphins, sea turtles, rays and crustaceans. They have also been found with many non-food items in their stomachs, including metal objects, plastics, burlap sacks and other refuse.

4. Female tiger sharks have anywhere from 10 to 82 embryos and give birth to an average of 30 to 35 pups per litter.

5. Tiger sharks live in shallow, coastal waters but have been seen 1,150 feet (350 m) deep.


Cordey told Forbes the close encounter with hungry sharks changed the crew's plans. 

Instead, the crew followed a single Laysan albatross chick for six weeks and captured the seabird's maiden flight. 

"They’re the longest-lived birds of all, and they take this enormous journey around the planet for years before they breed for the first time," Cordey said. 

So the shark attack worked out for the series, which premiered on Netflix June 14. It includes wildlife from all over the world and tackles major issues, like climate change, that directly impact animals.