Heart-stopping pictures show the moment a shark broke free of the water to try and eat a seal pup only for it to make a nail-biting escape.

The beast was spotted lunging at its prey in False Bay, South Africa, a known hotspot for the predator's favourite food, The Sun reports.

'Seal island' as it is known is bustling with the creatures and one made a lucky escape frustrating the shark as it missed out on a meal.

The attack occurred by a rock that seals congregate around in order to shield themselves from predators who are constantly circling the mass.

Great Whites wait patiently for the seals to venture out for a swim before they strike and gobble them down.

But one was seen leaping from the water after building up considerable speed in the bay just before sunrise.

The huge beast was estimated to be roughly four metres long and was seen reaching for its prey and opening is gaping jaws.

Impressively, the pup managed to break free of the shark's path in a near-miss despite the predator hoping to take advantage of the seal's compromised vision.

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The shark used rising sunlight to disguise itself as it hope to go undetected and catch the pup by surprise.

Tourists witnessed the attack as they regularly flock to the bay to cage-dive and watch the terrifying beasts close-up in their natural habitat.

It comes after pictures emerged last week of a shark targeting a seagull as it attempted to target the bird for food.

And the bay's predators don't limit themselves to wildlife when looking for a snack. In total, the area has reported a whopping 74 shark attacks this year alone. Eight have resulted in deaths.

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