THIS is the moment a moray eel turns on an underwater cameraman deep beneath the water.

The giant honeycomb moray eel appears docile while it hovers near a friend by an underwater shelf in South Africa's Sodwana Bay, seemingly unbothered by the dude with the giant camera who is invading its space.

Then suddenly:

"While in 99 percent of encounters these fish are very docile and allow for approaching very close it's not all roses though," the cameraman says.

"Caught completely off guard I had to make a run for it."

He frantically swims away from the chomping eel, keeping his fingers away from the giant attacker.

The cameraman quips that he will now be more cautious when filming the eels.