A man who braved shark-infested waters and strong currents to rescue a tiny bird has been hailed a "hero" on social media.
In an incredible video, Mohammad Rakeeb, a yacht crew member, can be seen swimming one-handed through the ocean while holding a defenceless zebra finch up high to protect her from predators lurking nearby.
Terrifyingly, as he moves closer to the yacht, a 2-metre shark comes into view – circling the man menacingly before luckily gliding off.
Two other sharks can be seen in the water in the background.
Thankfully, Rakeeb gets to the yacht where a fellow crew member puts out his hand and pulls the exhausted swimmer onboard to safety – while saying "very strong current."
The footage was captured by Jalil Najafov, 39, a filmmaker from Azerbaijan, who was in the Maldives on the luxury yacht, Azaleo Cruise, on 29 April, when the incident took place.
The video was later shared on Instagram, where it has been viewed over 26,000 times – as social media users hail Rakeeb a "hero" for risking his life for the tiny bird.
"Hero," wrote one person, as another fan similarly commented "heroes".
"Wow, he’s so brave," added a third person.
"Thank you for saving the bird," wrote a fourth person.
“This is a finch bird, her winglet was damaged and she lives onboard in the bushes,” Najafov, who is also a conservationist and explorer, said.
“She jumped out of the bushes and then found herself in the water – the yacht crew noticed that and Mohammad jumped into the water to save the bird.
“At that moment I went from my cabin and saw what happened and started to film it.
“I had injured my leg and I was wearing a bandage, so I couldn't enter the water, otherwise, as a sign of solidarity, I would have tried to help him somehow – but it was clear that he felt good, despite the strong current and swimming with one hand.”
“There were about 10 nurse sharks around the boat at the time but on the video, we can only see a few.
“I never spoke to Mohammad about [the] sharks but I think he was ok with them since he is a Maldivian guy and they meet sharks everywhere.”
After the hero and the zebra finch were safely back aboard the vessel, the wet yet seemingly unfazed bird was placed back into the bush on the yacht where she lives.
Najafov added: “The bird would have died in the ocean if we hadn’t saved her.
“She is okay now.”