A young surfer felt like he was ‘hit by a truck’ when a great white shark suddenly mauled him at a popular tourist beach.
The 29-year-old is only alive because he fought off the vicious predator with his bare hands and managed to paddle back to shore for help.
He was attacked as he sat on his board at the northern end of D’Estrees Bay, on South Australia‘s Kangaroo Island on Sunday just before 1.25pm local time.
Penning a note from his hospital bed in Adelaide on Monday, the young builder described his shock as the attack came out of nowhere.
The young surfer penned a statement about the attack that hit him ‘like a truck’ on Sunday
D’Estrees Bay beach, Kangaroo Island, was closed on Sunday following the attack
‘It was a normal day’s surfing,’ the island local wrote.
‘I was sitting on my board when I felt a hit on my left side – it was like being hit by a truck.
‘It bit me around my back, buttock and elbow, and took a chunk out of my board.’
The young surfer said he got a glimpse of the fish as it let go and disappeared. He managed to cling on to his damaged board and make it back to safety.
‘I still had a hold of my board and paddled into the beach,’ he wrote.
Once on the beach he managed to walk 300m with serious gashes to his back, bottom, and thigh.
An off duty paramedic from Mt Gambier came to the young man’s aid, called emergency services and drove him towards help at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island’s largest town.
Paramedics met the men halfway and rushed the injured man to Kangaroo Island Hospital.
The great white attacked a surfer at the northern end of D’Estrees Bay (pictured), on the south coast of Kangaroo Island on Sunday about 1.25pm
The man was flown from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide for treatment but his injuries are not life threatening. The great white shark attacked at D’Estrees Bay, a popular surf spot
He was then flown to a hospital in Adelaide’s Flinders Medical Centre for emergency surgery, where his partner has since joined him for support.
King Island paramedic Michael Rushby, who treated the victim, said his injuries were catastrophic.
He said it was ‘remarkable’ he had been able to swim to shore and walk to find help.
‘With the extent of his injuries, this was quite remarkable and very lucky that he was able to do that’ Mr Rushby told The Advertiser.
‘It’s amazing what people can do.’
South Australia Police closed D’Estrees Bay beach on Sunday, along with Fisheries and the local council, asking people to avoid the area.
Kangaroo Island’s last shark attack was September 25, 2005 when Josh Berris, 26, was bitten on the legs while surfing with friends on the island’s southwestern tip.
Great white sharks (pictured) are responsible for five of Australia’s nine fatal shark attacks this year. Numbers have increased dramatically since they were protected nation-wide in 1999
Shark cage diving with great whites is a tourist attraction at the Neptune Islands Marine Park mid way between the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island in the Southern Ocean, where a fur seal colony attracts the sharks.
The attack follows a spate of similar incidents in Queensland, and comes less than a month after Cable Beach hotel worker Charles Cernobori was killed in Western Australia.
This year has been Australia’s deadliest for shark attacks in 86 years with nine people killed so far, of which five were killed by great whites.
Great white sharks were protected in NSW in 1996 and in Australia in 1999, and their population has since increased, with many now larger than 2.5m.
The CSIRO says Australia has two distinct great white shark populations: Those east of Tasmania which range up the east coast, and the southwestern population which range from Western Australia around Australia’s southern coastline to Tasmania’s midline.
The 29-year-old man was rushed to Kangaroo Island Hospital (pictured) before being flown to Adelaide for emergency surgery at the Flinders Medical Centre
The two populations only have a small rate of crossover.
The science organisation’s website estimates there are up to 12,802 great whites in the east, but doesn’t know how many there may be in the south-western population.
Some water-sports enthusiasts have turned to personal electric shark deterrents for peace of mind.
Bond University associate professor Daryl McPhee wrote in The Conversation that one type of electric deterrent was found to reduce the percentage of bait taken by great whites from 96 per cent down to 40 per cent.
The best-performing device reduced bull shark consumption of bait by 42.3 per cent.
Professor McPhee said people could also reduce their risk by identifying times, locations and conditions to avoid, such as dawn and dusk.
Swimming with schools of baitfish or diving birds is also to be avoided, he wrote.
SHARK ATTACK DEATHS IN 2020
There have been at least 24 shark attacks in Australian waters this year so far of which nine have been fatal:
January 5, Esperance, WA: Gary Johnson, 57, killed by a great white while diving with his wife near Cull Island in 7m deep water.
April 6, North West Island, Qld: Zachary Robba, 23, mauled by an unknown species while swimming on the Great Barrier Reef, died in hospital.
May 8, Bells Beach, Vic: Dylan Nacass killed while surfing 30m from shore near Bells Beach
June 7, Salt Beach near Kingscliff, NSW: Rob Pedretti, 60, mauled by 3m great white shark while surfing, died of his injuries
July 11, Wooli Beach, NSW: Mani Hart-Deville, 15, killed by 2.5m great white shark while surfing on the mid-north coast
July 7, Fraser Island, Qld: Matthew Tratt killed by a great white shark while spear fishing
September 8, Greenmount Beach, Qld: Nick Slater, 46, killed by a 3.5m suspected great white shark in waist-deep water while paddling out to surf
October 9, Esperance, WA: Andrew Sharpe, 40, killed while surfing at Kelp Beds beach
November 22, Cable Beach, WA: Charles Cernobori, 59, who worked at a Cable Beach hotel was killed by a 4m suspected tiger shark while bodyboarding 2km north of the main tourist section