A great white shark "the size of a pickup truck" hit Randy Fry at the throat.
The fearsome predator tore off his head, killing him instantly. Within seconds, the sea around him was red.
It was a rarity. In California, where Randy met his grisly end, only 10 people have been killed in shark attacks in history. Worldwide, on average we can expect around seven deaths a year.
This week, a surfer died after being mauled by a shark in New South Wales, Australia.
Like any fatal attack, it was truly horrific, but for the sheer gory drama of it, the one that claimed Randy's life back in 2004 perhaps serves as the most chilling reminder of the grave dangers lurking in our oceans.
Randall Fry – Randy to pals – loved the ocean and would spend much of his spare time sport fishing and diving for abalone, a type of marine snail, on the rocky Mendocino coast, near his home.
One Sunday afternoon, he headed out with his friends Cliff Zimmerman and Red Bartley in search of abalone, anchoring in a sheltered cove at Kibesillah Rock, about 10 miles from Fort Bragg.
And that was where disaster struck.
Randy and Cliff left the latter's 28ft boat, Dolphin, and began diving for abalone in shallow waters, around 15ft deep, 150ft from shore.
Cliff, who was 3ft away from Randy, relived the ordeal, telling the San Francisco Chronicle: "I heard a noise, like 'whoosh,' like a submarine, like a boat going by fast. It was a shark.
"I knew it was a shark. It almost brushed me. I saw its dorsal fin. I don't know what kind it was – all I know is, it was big. Big. It was big enough to kill."
Cliff watched with horror as the shark struck Randy before the sea turned red. He told friends the shark was around 18ft long and as big as his pickup truck.
He added: "It was massive. I was yelling and yelling, but I knew from the amount of blood that it was fatal.
"He came in for the kill."
Red, who was watching from boat, yanked Cliff from the water and made a mayday call for help.
He said: "It was over in five seconds.
"I saw the pool of blood spread across the surface of the water and I knew Randy was gone."
Randy's headless body was recovered the following day.
Cliff again reflected on harrowing events. He said: "It was the most dramatic thing I ever saw in my life. It's just not real. This monster came so fast, it happened so fast and was over so fast you think, 'How can this happen?'
"I yelled, 'Randy! Randy!' I yelled, 'Holy s**t! Shark!'
"It was terrible. I almost had a heart attack myself. It could have been me."
The horror didn't end there. Randy, a dad-of-one, was killed on August 15, but it was three weeks, on September 8, later that his severed head was found by a beachcomber.
You could say Randy was desperately unlucky, with fatal shark attacks being rare in the area.
Experts said they were "in no doubt whatsoever" that a great white shark had killed Randy.
The killer beast might have mistaken him for a seal.
Cliff said: "I never heard of a fatality on this coast. A nibble, maybe, a nip, but never nothing like this. Never a full-bore attack."
In a final haunting twist, Cliff said his longtime friend had predicted that he'd be killed by a shark.
"Randy and I talked about it many times," he said. "He said, 'I think a shark will get me sometime.' "
Sadly, his premonition came true in the most horrific way imaginable.
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