Kenny Melendez was out flying his drone over the weekend in South Beach when he saw a shadow next to a swimmer.
He panned in and saw a large shark — which he believed was a tiger shark — not far from shore.
So he brought the drone down to about 15 feet above the water and followed it for about 10 minutes as it swam dangerously close to unsuspecting swimmers.
“The perspective is much different with a drone,” said Melendez, who flies drones professionally. “You can’t see the same things from eye level.”
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He was out at about 8 a.m. Friday with his cousin and his cousin’s friends for fun, trying to show them how the drone worked.
Melendez said he was standing in the area of First Street, near South Pointe Park. He saw a swimmer and thought it would be cool to get some images of her. That’s when he saw the shadow somewhere between Fourth and Seventh streets, he said.
He followed the shark as headed south. He said he wasn’t close enough to warn the swimmers, who appeared to be unaware of the potentially dangerous creature.
Vince Canosa, Miami Beach’s Ocean Rescue chief, said it’s not uncommon to see sharks near the shore this time of year, though he wasn’t “100 percent sure it’s a tiger shark.”
He said there is a migratory push of blacktip sharks from the Carolinas this time of year because the sharks are chasing the bait fish and are looking for warmer water.
“They don’t hang around too long,” he said, adding in his 35-year career on the beach he’s never seen a problem. “It's their home and we are in it.”