A group of kayakers barely avoided a catastrophe Monday when a huge section of sandstone cliff crumbled into Lake Superior near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, and it was caught on video.

Jon Smithers was filming the cliffs with a drone when he heard a sound and turned his drone just in time to see the collapsing cliff, as reported by MLive.

“I was really shocked,” Smithers said. “I had never seen anything like that before.”

Kayak guide Van Ouellette-Ballas of Northern Waters Adventures told MLive he noticed a small rock tumble into the water nearby and paddled a bit farther out a minute before the collapse. He said they were covered with dust and dirt.

“That entire shelf just fell off right in front of our eyes,” Ouellette-Ballas told MLive. “It was just really incredible. The aroma of old dirt was just ridiculous. Honestly that was as cool as seeing it fall.

“It was a really big wakeup call. I was 20 seconds away from getting completely smashed. I’m pretty excited to still be here.”

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Sue Reece, chief of interpretation of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, told MLive that small releases occur every year with bigger ones happening once every five years.

“It’s pretty rare for someone to catch something like that on film, that’s how uncommon it is on a day-to-day basis,” Reece told MLive.

To those believing he was breaking the law by flying his drone in a national park, Smithers explained in the comments section of his YouTube video that he and a friend were in a pontoon boat outside the park boundaries and that the park service told him he was legal.

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