Terrifying 32st bull shark clamps down gaping jaws inches from fearless diver

A fearless diver stared death down as he managed to feed a terrifying 32-stone bull shark some chum using his bare hands.

Florida diver Jeff Joel was bobbing in the Atlantic Ocean, as he has done hundreds of times before, when the massive beast swam up to him.

The 66-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, and seven other divers held huge pieces of chum in their hands, in an attempt to get as close to the bull sharks as possible.

READ MORE: 'I lost my leg after bloody shark attack — it was like a scene out of a horror movie'

Their plan worked, and within seconds, the crew had half-a-dozen hungry bull sharks circling them.

The beasts were seen chowing down on the chum just inches from the divers’ hands.

But the animal photographer refused to shy away from them.

In fact, he posed with them, patted some on the side and took dozens of photos that were shared withthe Mirror.

He said of the photos: “My favourite thing about the images is the composition. I love when people see these images, they are amazed.”

He said he did not wear any additional equipment to the dive, only bringing a camera and breathing equipment.

The jury is still out on whether it is safe to feed sharks in the way that Jeff and his team did.

One expert told National Geographic that doing so can alter sharks’ behaviour and make them associate easy meals with human beings.

Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research George Burgess told the magazine: “Feeding of sharks has the effect that it can get rid of that natural concern between the shark and human.”

But others argued that the practice of getting people used to being with sharks reduces the stigma they have and in fact increases awareness of the challenges they face.

“Divers in shark cages doing ecotourism around the world have done some good," shark diving expert and photographer Brian Skerry said.

"Now there are shark ambassadors around the world. They’ve done some good things in trying to change the view most people have that sharks are dangerous."

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