Doc­tor ‘punches shark’ to es­cape mauling

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SYDNEY: A young Bri­tish doc­tor has de­scribed punch­ing a shark that leapt from the wa­ter to at­tack him as he surfed off Aus­tralia’s east­ern coast, es­cap­ing with bite marks to his shoul­der and arm.

Char­lie Fry, 25, was surf­ing with three oth­ers at Avoca Beach in New South Wales on Mon­day when the shark “jumped out of the wa­ter and hit him in the right shoul­der”, po­lice said.

“I saw a shark’s head come out of the wa­ter, with its teeth, and I just punched it in the face,” Fry told broad­caster Chan­nel Nine yes­ter­day.

“It was just pure adren­a­line, I gen­uinely thought I was go­ing to die, like ‘you’re about to be eaten alive by a shark’, so ev­ery­thing slowed down, like ‘get on your board and surf’.”

The Bri­ton thought the shark was up to 1.8m long, but a he­li­copter res­cue ser­vice later said a 3m great white and a 3m bronze whaler shark were spot­ted off Avoca.

Fry, who was able to surf back to the beach with his friends, was not se­ri­ously hurt and ini­tially did not even re­alise he had been bit­ten.

“I didn’t feel the teeth go­ing in, it felt like I was smacked, it felt like a hand, a hand grab­bing me, shak­ing me,” he said, call­ing the at­tack a “close call”.

“It could have eas­ily taken my hand. I count my­self very lucky.”

There have been 16 shark en­coun­ters and at­tacks off the is­land con­ti­nent’s vast coast­line this year, in­clud­ing the death of a 17-year-old girl mauled in full view of her par­ents in Western Aus­tralia.

Ex­perts say in­ci­dents are in­creas­ing as wa­ter sports be­come more pop­u­lar and bait­fish move closer to shore, but fa­tal­i­ties re­main rare. – AFP

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