Nipper wins fight with shark
Email Print Normal font Large font By Dan Proudman
April 12, 2006
Brave ... Luke Cook.
Photo: Stefan Moore
WHAT began with an uncomfortable tug on his left foot while out surfing ended last night with a surgeon removing the tip of a shark tooth from his big toe.
Luke Cook, a 15-year-old from Caves Beach, was bitten by an unidentified shark as he paddled through whitewater at a surf break known as the Cowrie Hole between Newcastle and Nobbys beaches at 1.30pm yesterday.
Showing incredible composure, the budding soccer star said he stunned the shark into releasing its grip by punching it on the nose.
"I could feel my foot inside its mouth, his whole mouth was around my foot, and I just knew it was some sort of shark," Luke said from his bed in John Hunter Hospital yesterday.
"Then I hit it and it let go and I didn't see anything."
Bleeding profusely from a couple of deep gashes, the Belmont Christian College student said he paddled the 40 metres back to shore "thinking he may be coming back", before using a sock to stem the blood.
"I just thought out what I had to do," he said.
The fact his injuries were relatively minor came as a huge relief to the gifted soccer player, who is due to travel to Italy in September as part of training squad visiting soccer giants AC Milan and Juventus.
Luke's father, Graham, said his first thought on hearing of the shark attack was that his son might lose his foot. "It was a deep shock but when I saw him it was relief," he said.
A surgeon, Dr Matthew Carroll, said the tooth fragment embedded in Luke's foot needed to be removed to avoid infection.
Water police yesterday patrolled the attack zone as a precaution, although no beaches were closed.
Sean Lennon, a lifeguard, described Luke as a "very brave boy" who was almost apologetic when he asked for help.
"He said 'Mate, can you help me, I think I have been bitten by a shark,"' Mr Lennon said.
"We applied some pressure bandages and waited for the ambulance. He was fine through the whole thing."
It might have been a bad end to a four-hour surf with some mates - but Luke says he can hardly wait to get back in the water.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/04/ ... 39092.html