Shark attack victim relives his horrific ordeal
Within a split second a great white shark has latched on to his left thigh, then his left arm and hand.
“Its head was right there, just gouging out my leg,” the 51-year-old remembers of being mauled by the three-metre monster off Main Beach at Evans Head last Friday morning.
“I saw it go past but it didn’t think anything of it because I thought it was a dolphin and there’s always dolphins out there.
Craig Ison thought he would bleed to death after he was mauled by a great white
“I had just got out. I was paddling to get a wave. It was my first wave.
“As soon as I knew it was a shark, then it looked, it looked like it was surprised. It’s gone “hang on a minute, there’s something to eat there” and boom, it just quickly turned. The bugger could of had me on the way back into the beach.”
Still rattled by the attack, Mr Ison, who fought former three-weight world champion Jeff Fenech in the ring in the late 1980s, said he could not stop replaying the moment the shark locked its jaws around his leg and held on.
“He (the shark) just thrust forward and locked down, straight on to my thigh.
“It’s like he said to me, “mate, just give up now, don’t worry about fighting because I’m going to chew all your leg off. And you’re going to bleed to death and then I’m going to clean you up — so don’t even think about trying to save yourself”.”
Mr Ison said he was in awe of the big grey creature savaging his body and for a split second thought he might give up the fight.
“I was looking down at it thinking I was done for, but then I thought “no, I’m not” and started laying into him.
“I didn’t have any other option than watching him chew my leg off, so I hit him.”
The former lightweight boxer said the shark was mauling his left arm, thigh and surfboard so he bashed its head four times with his right hand.
“I thought, “I’m not going to give up without a fight. If I’m going to go, I’m going to go out fighting”.”
“It was vicious. He was just tearing, ripping and carrying on. He wasn’t going to stop until he got through the whole leg.
“Mate, I’ll never forget that.”
Bleeding heavily, Mr Ison amazingly maintained consciousness and paddled to shore.
“He let go,” he said.
“Yeah, I was conscious, and with blood pissing out of me I got on me board.”
Mr Ison said friends at the scene watched him ride whitewater to the beach but all he can remember is a 100m journey of sheer terror.
“I just thought “I’ve got to get back to shore” and I pulled myself back on my board and paddled. He could have come up behind me.”
Mr Ison said Geoff Hill, a friend and the only other surfer in the water with him, helped him on to the sand and three friends scrambled to his aid.
“Geoff took the leg-rope off and wrapped it around my leg like a tourniquet.”
Another friend, Rick Forsyth, put pressure on his wounds to limit blood loss.
“And my mate Dawso was just talking to me keeping me calm,” Mr Ison remembered.
“He was just saying “you can do it, you can do it, come on mate you’re tough you’ll beat that shark that sort of stuff”.
Mr Ison said he knew he would die if he did not calm himself.
“I knew I was losing blood but I couldn’t panic. I just had to remain cool and calm and I just concentrated on my breathing.
“All I could do was hope. You know, I was just praying for time.”
He said he saw the ambulance approach from Airforce Beach at Evans Head.
“I was just conscious, they were working on me. I could hear them but I don’t know what they were doing. They saved me.”
After 15 hours of surgery and being transferred from Lismore Hospital, when Mr Ison woke in Gold Coast University Hospital he said the memories seared into his mind.
“This is serious, it was real life stuff. “Like, here’s this shark just chewing on my leg.”
Yesterday morning Mr Ison told the Bulletin he was still in awe of the great white.
“It was a good healthy young male shark. He was in good nick (and) was sending me a message about who’s boss.”
Mr Ison said he woke in extreme pain on Tuesday but now felt triumphant after surviving his worst nightmare.
“I want to recover so I can say that he didn’t beat me,” he said.
However, the boardrider of 45 years conceded his surfing days were over.
“I’m bagging him (the shark) out. I can because I’m not going back into the water.
“That moment, that was scary, to see it latched on so tight.”
Mr Ison said surfers were mad to be surfing in northern NSW and he felt the same shark would attack again.
“They’re killers, they’re predators, they will go you.
“We need some kind of controlling method. I mean, he’s protected and he nearly killed me.
“It’s not safe to get into the water. I would feel safer if they had nets.”
“What can you do? I suggest culling them, because that’s what he was trying to do to me.”http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/