Attack Survivor - Andrew Cribb
Date - 30-Jan-2002
Area - Australia
Following Details written by Andrew Cribb for SharkAttackSurvivors.com
I was surfing at Fingal Spit (Fingal Beach, Port Stephens NSW Australia)
it only breaks one or two weeks a year and this was the best I had ever seen it @ approx 7pm (DST).....
Water conditions -
Beach break/4-6ft Offshore/water approx 22 Degrees Celcius/ clear Visibility (10m +)/ Depth ranging between 1-3 metres...
dist from shore approx 150m.
Weather conditions - approx 25 degrees celcius/ clear skies/ sunset (or a little after but enough light to see....
dark after the 40min walk back to the car)
Clothing - green/black board shorts
No fish etc but there was a dog swimming about 400m down the beach on the shore.
It was a funny sequence of events. Being a Tuesday I was meant to be at rugby training but was rostered on a casual bar shift at the local pub.
When I got to work it was very very quiet so knowing the surf was good volunteered to go home....
It was a little late to go to rugby so I went surfing...
There was approx 10 guys out as it was getting lateish and I had just pulled of a wave (my best wave of the day) and started paddling back out to the take off point.
After about 30 seconds of paddling and talking to my best mate (approx 10 m further out) who had caught the wave before mine.
Next thing I remember was that I got thrown off my board after getting hit by something from my left side.
I surfaced thinking that a dolphin had hit me as they are always around in that area and heaps of guys have had close calls before.
I was in the water with my arm over the board when I saw the shark coming straight at me from the same direction. It all happened so fast so details are sketchy....
Next thing I remember was standing on the sand underwater looking at the shark coming at me.
I sort of got on my back and started kicking as I was coming....
I flicked its head then tail and came back maybe 3 more times.
At this stage I couldn't see due to the bubbles in the water and just when I thought I was goners I popped to the surface.
My board was right next to me so I got on it and started paddling towards shore....
As I was right next to the break another wave was coming and I managed to catch it.
I remember going down the face with the fins near my face so it was upside down and backwards.... somehow I managed to spin/flip it and ride the wave to shore on my stomach.
Everyone saw it all happening and all paddled into shore or towards to help as it was happening....
Apparently after I caught the wave it was chasing me and when the wave broke it turned around and swam under a few of them on its way out to sea.
The guys also said that I was under water for about 1 minute (but who knows).
In the aftermath I was interview by local television and newspapers but didn't really say much as I didn't want it to be blown out of proportion etc.
I will scan copies and send them to you.
I didn't think I was injured (apart from some very scratches etc) but after a day or so my arm really started to hurt... I had scans and found out I had broken my arm (sort of a crush injury)
I was interview by the fisheries dept. scientists and they concluded that my arm must have got stuck between the board and the nose of the shark as it pulled me under with its teeth in my board.
They measured the teeth marks etc and concluded it was a bull shark of approx. 11ft in length....
For several days there was shark sighting within a 4 km area and a local fisherman laid a bait on a hook attached to a 20L container as a float and an anchor..
The next day he checked it and he had indeed caught a shark. It attacked his 20ft aluminum boat and left teeth marks in it.
He eventually killed it and had it weighed being 320kgs (from memory I will have to check).
The same scientists checked the shark and they were 99% positive it was the same shark going on jaw/teeth marks etc.
I'm spewing as my rugby club had a fundraising night (Hawaiian) a few years later and made us all bring some boards as decoration... Of course they made me bring that one.... Unfortunately I left it there afterwards for a few weeks and there was a fire which destroyed my board with the bite marks.
Anyway of you have any other questions give me a yell. Oh yeah I was back in the water at the same place the next day....
I knew that if I didn't I would be scared forever so had to get back on the horse as they say.