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Watch the moment swimmers are warned they’re paddling “next to 15 great white sharks”

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Tom Mendelsohn
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They’re the words no-one wants to hear: “Attention in the water: this is the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. You are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks.”

You especially wouldn’t want to hear them through a loudspeaker attached to a helicopter hovering above the water you’re in – but it’s exactly what a bunch of unsuspecting surfers were told on Wednesday while frolicking near a beach in Orange County, California.

Swimmers were advised to “exit the water in a calm manner” because “the sharks are as close as the surfline". They were believed to be relatively harmless juveniles – waters aren’t fully closed unless an adult shark that’s longer than eight feet appears.

“We haven’t had any reports of anyone being bumped or charged, just observations of them either swimming or breaching,” said OC lifeguard Jason Young.

As you can see from the videos below, released by the OCSD, the sharks weren’t actually up to much.

Later that day, a separate group of great whites were spotted 50 miles to the north, near the Long Beach Coast. Swimmers were told to enter the water "at their own risk".

No-one got eaten in either incident, because shark attacks around the world are actually incredibly rare: only four people were killed by sharks in 2016, from 81 attacks in total. It’s not that they’re more scared of you than you are of them, it’s just that they can’t usually be arsed.

That said, a woman was bitten on the arse in Orange County at the end of April. According to the OC Register, she has had “two surgeries to her right leg and buttock with several more needed in upcoming weeks – but doctors are hopeful she will again be able to walk”.