Miss Marcia Hathaway, a well-known Sydney actress, was fatally mauled by a shark in Middle Harbour, yesterday afternoon. ***
Shark kills actress in shallow cove: fight by fiance
Miss Marcia Hathaway, a well-known Sydney actress, was fatally mauled by a shark in Middle Harbour, yesterday afternoon.
The shark attacked her while she was standing in murky water only 30 inches deep and 20 feet from the shore in the northern arm of Sugarloaf Bay.
Second before she died, while friends were hurrying her to hospital, Miss Hathaway, told he fiance: "I am not in pain, Don't worry about me, dear. God will look after me."
Miss Hathaway, 32 of Greenway Flats, Milsons Point, was on a picnic trip with six friends in a motor cruiser.
When the shark attacked, her fiance, who was beside her, fought the shark with his hands and kicked it as it twisted in blood-stained water, trying to drag its victim into deep water.
Mis Hathaway died 20 minutes later from her terrible injuries and shock. The shark almost tore off her right leg.
Miss Hathaway's fiance and two other friends were treated at the mater Misericordiae Hospital for shock.
Miss Hathaway and her fiance, Frederick Knight, 38, journalist of Cook Street, Double Bay, were in a party of seven holidaying on the 28ft cabin cruiser Valeeta.
Knight said later that Miss Hathaway at first thought she had been attacked by an octopus.
"I have seen men died but I have never seen anyone so brave as Marcia," he said. "I think the last words she said to me were, 'Don't worry about me, dear. God will look after me.'
"When I asked her if it hurt much she said, 'No, I am not in pain.'
"She was a very religious girl.
"We were to announce our engagement formally on her birthday, February 8.
"I did not get a close look at the shark. I saw a fin and its girth as I straddled it. My legs were wide apart and it body touched both of them."
The Valeeta was anchored about 20 yards from where the shark attacked, which was about 20 feet from the shore.
The attack occurred in a small bay with a small watercourse at its head.
Several homes back on to the water about 700 yards away.
They are not visible from the beach.
The other members of the party were David Mason, 28, a journalist and Peter Cowden, 27, both of Phoebe Street, Balmain, who are joint owners of the cruiser, James Delmege, 39, of Potts Point, Alan Simpson, 21, of Melton Street, Auburn and Sandra Hayden, 19, of Blacktown.
Mason, Cowden and Simpson were on the Valeeta, Delmege and Miss Hayden were only about three or four feet from the shore gathering oysters from the rocks, while Knight and Miss Hathaway were standing in shallow water about 20 feet out.
Knight said when the shark attacked he was only a few feet away from Miss Hathaway.
"We had been swimming about in shallow water and I remember telling Marcia not to go too far out," he said.
"Then I heard her scream. She said she thought she had bee attacked by and octopus.
"Foot in its mouth"
"I went to her and tried to drag her from the shark. It seemed like 10 minutes to me while we struggled, but it could only have been a couple of minutes.
"The water was stained with blood and I never thought I would get her away from it. I think at one stage I had my foot in its mouth. It felt soft and spongy.
"I'm not too clear what happened. It happened so fast and I could not see much in the water.
"I tried to reassure Marcia and told her that the shark had just brushed past her.
"But she knew a short time after that she was dying."
Tourniquets on Beach
Delmege said he had his back to the couple when the shark attacked. Sandra Hayden was a few feet away from him.
"I heard a scream, looked around and thought they were just skylarking. I continued looking for oysters," he said.
"Then I heard a second scream and I turned and saw the water bloodstained and foaming.
"I dashed in and helped Fred Knight to get Marcia away from the shark."
Knight said the shark apparently attacked Miss Hathaway below the calf on the right leg, then in a second lunge embedded its teeth into her upper right thigh near the hip.
Her right leg was almost torn off.
Delmege and Knight carried Miss Hathaway to the sandy beach I the small cove.
Mason said that when he and Cowden saw the attack, they tore sheets of the cruiser's bunks for tourniquets then rowed to shore in the dinghy.
They applied tourniquets on the beach, lifted Miss Hathaway into the dinghy and rowed back to the Valeeta.
They took the cruiser to a boatshed at the foot of Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag, where Knight dived overboard and swam about 20 yards to a house to get the occupants to phone for an ambulance.
Ambulance breaks down
He swam back to the cruiser and comforted his fiancee as they made for Mowbray Point, where they were met by ambulance officers Ray Wrigthson and Robert Smith of Central District Ambulance.
Miss Hathaway was unconscious. Ambulancemen used oxygen in an attempt to revive her.
They put her in an ambulance, but because of the steep grade leading up from the water's edge and the slippery surface the ambulance clutch burnt out.
Although about 30 people, including Knight tried desperately to push the vehicle, the grade was too steep.
A reporter radioed his office and a second ambulance was sent.
Ambulance officer worked on Miss Hathaway continuously and doctors at Mater Misericordiae Hospital also tried to revive her, but she was dead.
Knight, Delmege and Miss Hayden were all treated for shock at the hospital.
Miss Hathaway's mother collapsed when told of the news of her death.
She was taken by ambulance to a private hospital.
Mr Michael Vaux, the owner of the Castlecrag boatshed, where the Valeeta pulled in with Miss Hathaway, said he saw two large sharks earlier in the morning in the bay.
"There were a couple of dogs taken by sharks in the area last week," he said.