A South African diver has had the fright of his life after a shark charged at him while he was filming.

Surrounded by sharks, Elton Polly was filming diving mates as they watched the sea predators swimming off the coast near Durban. But while he observed through the lens, a shark mistakenly swam straight into him in a panic.

At least half a dozen sharks can be seen in the footage, and it appears the charging shark is just inspecting another diver. At the last second, the shark swerves quickly into Polly almost as if it were startled.

The divers have since confirmed the shark was never intending to attack, it was just surprised. "These type of dives take place daily in that area," Polly told Newsflare. "The shark was startled and in an attempt to get away, it charged right into the diver's head, knocking his mask off and the regulator from his mouth."

Despite the shock, Polly and the diving crew managed to stay calm. "No one was injured and the shark was unharmed too." The footage was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday (27 February) and has been watched more than 150,000 times. It was recorded on Saturday (24 February).