Off the South African coast, a drone captured footage of a unique hunt involving a great white shark and a humpback whale. The shark, known as Helen, was seen using strategy to take down the much bigger prey. For nearly an hour, the shark attacked the whale and slowly drowned it. Researchers are unsure if the hunt was instinctual or if the shark had developed the new hunting strategy.

Scientists saw the great white shark on the hunt in February near Port Elizabeth. Researcher Ryan Johnson had led a study in 2013, during which the shark had been tagged and named Helen. Using a drone, the team captured an aerial view of the attack.

Helen was seen first biting the whale at a narrow part of the tail where it could get a good grip on the prey. After the initial bite, blood was seen pouring into the waters indicating that the bite had lacerated a vein. The already ill whale was forced to get weaker by Helen. She seemed to strategically stalk the prey as it lost blood.

Helen let the whale bleed out for around 30 minutes before resuming the attack. It went for the whale's head, latching on and pulling it down. Even though humpback whales are capable of staying underwater for prolonged periods, the mammals have to resurface to breathe. Helen kept the 33-foot long whale underwater long enough for it to drown. In around 50-minutes, the 13-foot long shark had hunted down the much larger prey.

Speaking to The Times, Johnson stated that the actions of the shark seemed to be highly strategic. The whale that Helen targeted was not a healthy one. It seemed to have been separated from its pod. It was entangled in nets and had mottled skin. The footage is the first one of a great white shark predating on a whale.

However, a 2017 study was the first to have reported great white sharks hunting a whale. The Daily Mail reported that on February 17, 2017, those onboard the Oceans Research Institute's vessel witnessed the attack. They saw a 23-foot long whale hunted down in a similar manner in which Helen attacked her prey. It is unknown if any of the two sharks involved in the 2017 attack was Helen.

Great white shark
Representation image of a great white shark Getty Images