'Jaws' spotted? Massive great white shark sighted off Australian coast

A massive great white shark has been spotted off the coast of a popular beach in Western Australia, one that may be between 15 and 20 feet long, or nearly the size of the fictional shark in "Jaws."

Filmmaker Dave Riggs has posted a video to Facebook with footage of the shark near a patrol boat. The footage, captured by a drone, shows the boat, roughly 27-feet in length (8.5 meters), and the shark circling the boat, before it swims away out of sight.

The video has gone viral, being viewed nearly 170,000 times. Over 200 comments have also appeared on the video, with many expressing shock at the size of the shark.

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It is unknown what attracted the shark so close to the beach, but locals fear that a whale carcass in the area may be attracting the predators, according to a report in The Australian

In "Jaws," the fictional shark is said to be 25-feet in length and approximately 3 tons. It is unknown at this time how much the shark weighs.

In a subsequent Facebook post, Riggs said that Esperance, the town in Western Australia near where the great white was spotted, has had this type of drama before.

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"Rather than dwelling on our personal relationship with the ocean I reckon its time to consider what perhaps is the bigger picture here," Riggs wrote. "Esperance has had a drama with small white shark/human interactions at Kelp Beds every year for some time now. Those sharks are quite light in colour .. like they are coastal creatures. The ones that are here right now are pretty much black .. like they have followed the dead sperm whales we have on the beach down here at the moment from the deep waters off the shelf. We should be looking to tow these dead sperm whales back out to sea when they beach rather than spend 300k to send them to a rubbish tip .. there's no way you're getting a D9, excavator and low loader beyond Alexander Bay where the other whale is beached"

Sharks of this size are not uncommon to both Australia and around the globe. In 2016, a shark estimated to be 23-feet in length was spotted off the coast of southern Australia, according to a report in the National Post.

In 2015, marine biologist Mauricio Hoyos Padilla captured footage of a massive 20-foot great white shark, dubbed Deep Blue, according to a report in National Geographic.

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According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, sharks of this size are not uncommon. The government agency noted that "Adult White Sharks grow to about 21 feet long and are one of the top-level predators of the ocean," and a female great white was "captured off Point Vincente, Los Angeles County, in September 1986 that measured 17.6 feet and weighed 4,140 lbs."

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia