AN Elliston pharmacist has told how he was launched into the air after he was attacked from below by a great white shark on the state’s West Coast this morning.
The shark, estimated to have been 15 feet or 4.5m long, smashed into the bottom of Andrew “Monkey” McLeod’s board while he was surfing with two mates on the Elliston Bar, about 2km off shore, at 9.30am.
The great white left two huge bite marks, along with blood stains, in the bottom of Mr McLeod’s surfboard and left the trio — made up of one half of the “duct tape surfing” pair Tyrone Swan and Oakley Big Wave Contest finalist Sam Jervis — facing a harrowing paddle back to shore.
Mr McLeod, 35, said he had just arrived at the reef break after the long haul from shore when the shark hit.
“I was about 15 metres from the peak, just getting my breath back so I could catch a wave if one came through when I just felt this massive force and heard this massive sound,” he said.
“I went flying and Ty thinks that the shark might have totally breached the surface because there was a huge splash.
“After I climbed back on my board I saw its tail fin right next to me and it must have been five foot high. I’d say the shark was 15 foot long. I yelled out “it’s a pointer!’.”
Mr Jervis and Mr Swan, who had watched the drama unfold, waited for Mr McLeod to paddle over to them before the three surfers began paddling back to the southern end of Waterloo Bay.
“I have to give a massive thanks to them for waiting for me and allowing us to bunch up before we paddled in.”
The damage to Mr McLeod’s board, however, meant that the other two surfers were able to catch a wave and he found himself alone.
“Because my board was stuffed I couldn’t catch that wave, but then I got one and rode it on my guts,” he said.
“Then it was a very fast paddle back to the shore, but I was totally rooted because I’d only just got out there.”
Mr Jervis said once on shore the friends realised just how lucky they had been.
“It looks like it’s had two bites at Monkey’s board, and there was shark blood on the bottom of his board as well,” Mr Jervis said.
“That was my first encounter with a great white, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel like jumping straight back in the water. But it could have been a lot worse — we could have been paddling in without Monkey and had to tell his fiancée what had happened.”
Mr Jervis said that he and his friends rode big boards when surfing the Elliston Bar, mainly because it made the long paddle easier.
Mr Jervis, a well-known surfer and owner of two surf shops in Port Lincoln, said surfers and fishermen had recently seen a lot of sharks in the area.
“Yeah, personally I get pretty tired of hearing hippies telling us that we shouldn’t kills sharks,” Mr Jervis said.
“Well one just tried to kill my friend.”
Mr McLeod, who moved to Elliston from Adelaide about four years ago, said that while he was shaken by the incident, it wouldn’t stop him from surfing again.
“Nah, I’ll be back out there for sure,” he said.
“But maybe not at that spot again.”
Elliston was the scene of a fatal shark attack in 2000, when 17-year-old Port Lincoln surfer Jevan Wright was killed while surfing at Blackfellows.
Woman wading at Jacksonville Beach describes being bitten by shark
Mihaela Cosa, 44, needed 21 stitches to close wound
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. –
A 44-year-old Westside woman wading in thigh-deep water at Jacksonville Beach Tuesday morning was bitten on the foot by a shark.
Shark bites woman
Mihaela “Mimi” Cosa, who was at the beach with her mother, was bitten just before 11 a.m. near 34th Avenue South. She was taken to Baptist Medical Center Beaches, where she was treated and received 21 stitches to close her wound.
Cosa told rescuers she didn’t see what bit her — she just felt something bite and shake her foot. She said it felt like knives slicing through her foot. Medical personnel later confirmed the injury was from a shark bite.
Stitches on foot for shark bite “I was just standing, and I felt the bite, and it didn’t want to let go,” Cosa said. “I don’t know how big it was, but I felt that he didn’t want to let go.
“I finally turned and I lifted up and I saw the skin hanging.”
Cosa said she was able to flag down beachgoer Frank Costantini, whose dog “Ozzie” was splashing nearby. He helped her out of the water and called 911.
“I thought it was a jellyfish or sea urchin or something like that, typical, but once she pulled it out of the water it appeared to be a pretty bad shark bite,” said Costantini. “It was pretty nasty, actually. Maybe 6-8 inches in radius.
“I’m not a fisherman, so I don’t know how big of a shark that translates to, but probably at least 3-4 feet. Pretty severe wound.”
Blood on beach Cosa’s bloody footprints could be seen in the sand for a while after she had been rushed to the hospital.
Costantini, who lives just a few hundred feet from the shore, said what he saw Tuesday was unlike anything he’s ever seen.
“I’m in the water every day, surfing or boogie (boarding), just going out there swimming, playing with Ozzie,” Costantini said. “It’s pretty troubling, it’s disconcerting when you see it in front of you. You hear about it, it’s very rare, we know that. It would never prevent me from going in the water, but it still kind of shakes you up a bit.”
Experts believe the shark that bit Cosa might have been a 3-4 foot dogfish shark or sandbar shark, which tend to swim in shallow water.
Cosa will have to return to the hospital later this week for a check-up. She said she still can’t feel her pinky toe, which is something doctors told her could require surgery.
“I hope I don’t (permanently) lose any feeling in my toes,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Cosa said she’s focusing on healing now and warns others to be mindful at the beach.
“Guys, be careful out there, especially the kids, because they’re helpless, they can’t realize it’s so close,” she said.
The captain of Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue, Robert Emahiser, said there are some precautions you can take to stay safe.
“If you have any open wounds, we don’t recommend swimming,” Emahiser said. “Or if it’s dark. We don’t recommend swimming at night because sharks like to eat at night.”
This is the first reported shark bite of the year in northeast Florida. There were three last year.
But the attack didn’t deter some people from going in the water Tuesday.
Michael Kesslar said he went to the beach to try out his new surfboard.
“I’ve been coming to the same beach for 20 years,” he said. “My whole life, I’ve been coming to this beach. I’m definitely going to keep coming down here. One shark attack isn’t going to worry me too much.”
Shark attack reported off Tybee Island
SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Sunday trip to Tybee Island turned into a Mother’s Day that one Richmond Hill family won’t soon forget.
While surfing on the south end of Tybee Island, Raeshelle Meadows and her 12-year-old son, Ayden, spotted something gray in the water behind Ayden’s surfboard. They believed it was a shark, and before they could get out of the water, the animal had latched on to Ayden’s right leg.
“I had already caught two waves and I was getting ready to catch another one when we saw it,” said Ayden. “It was just like in the movies, it jumped up and hit my board then grabbed my leg.”
Meadows picked Ayden up and rushed him to the lifeguard stand, where the wound was wrapped. Then Ayden was transported to the lifeguard station, where Meadows was advised to take her son to the emergency room.
Meadows said she took Ayden to Memorial University Medical Center where the doctor on call speculated it was a shark bite, but was unable to confirm because he had never seen a shark bite before.
“I ran to the lifeguard stand and they wrapped it up and after we got to the other place the blood was already clotting so they told us to go to the hospital. The doctor said he believed it was a shark bite. You could see the outline of the jaw on his leg,” Meadows said.
Skip Sasser, the chief of the Tybee Island Fire and Emergency Services, said he was aware of the incident, but wasn’t able to confirm that the bite marks had come from a shark.
“I know the lifeguards wrapped the leg, but they couldn’t verify what bit the child. I think they were all scratching their heads because they didn’t know what it was,” Sasser said. “Certainly if it was confirmed to be a shark we want to know that.”
Ayden’s injury required 11 stitches, but an avid beach-goer, he said the experience won’t stop him from venturing into the water again.
“My adrenaline was so high I didn’t really feel it until I saw it,” he said. “It’s sore, but it’s still fine. It’s not going to stop me from going into the water at Tybee again.”
Possible shark or fish bite reported on Hilton Head
HILTON HEAD ISLAND — A beachgoer was bitten by a shark or fish while swimming Tuesday afternoon at Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island, according to beach patrol and EMS.
Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division members called to the beach shortly before 3 p.m. arrived to find the patient in a chair being attended by beach patrol personnel, fire marshal Joheida Fister said.
The patient, who was conscious and alert, was taken to Hilton Head Hospital with a cut to the foot, according to Mike Wagner, operations manager for cqShore Beach Service. Further details about the patient or the patient’s condition were not available, Wagner and Fister said.
The bite victim was the first this season, Wagner said. The last confirmed shark attack on Hilton Head Island was in 2006, when a 7-year-old girl was bitten on her foot and buttocks at Coligny Beach. Another man said he required stitches that year after he was bitten at Singleton Beach, though that incident was not confirmed by authorities.
Before then, a shark bite had not been recorded since 2001.
Fister said witnesses reported seeing a shark in the water Tuesday, though Wagner said the beach patrol’s incident report made no mention of a shark.
“That would usually be in the report,” he said. “But if something bit somebody underwater, the odds of anyone seeing what it was aren’t very good.”
Still, Wagner plans to follow up with the Florida Museum of Natural History, which maintains the International Shark Attack File. The museum will determine whether it wants Wagner to report the incident, he said.
While some sharks and toothed fish can be found in Hilton Head’s waters, they are relatively small and difficult to see, Wagner said.
“You wouldn’t have to be in very deep water not to see something.”
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Shark bites man sitting on surf board near Jetty
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. —A 23-year-old Edgewater man suffered a minor cut to the hand when a small shark bit him while he was surfing not far from the jetty on Thursday.
Shane Nolet told rescuers he was sitting on his board with a friend when they noticed a lot of bait fish, then something breaking the water.
The friend said the shark was about 3 feet long.
The victim was treated at the hospital for the bite.
It’s the fourth shark bite of the year, all in the same area.