02/17/2019 - Sam Edwardes - Australia

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02/17/2019 - Sam Edwardes - Australia

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Sam Edwardes shark attack Tony Donoghue shark attack

'I thought I was going to die': Victim tells of fear after friend's shark death

When Sam Edwardes was bitten by a shark at a beach in Byron Bay on Sunday morning, he was the third of his tight circle of friends to be attacked.

The first was nearly 20 years ago in 1999, when Tony Donoghue was attacked while the friends were staying at Hardwicke Bay in South Australia.

Man arrested after two bodies found at house in Sutherland, Sydney

After losing a chunk from his leg, Byron Bay surfer and teacher Sam Edwardes tells the story of his attack and how how his friend saved him. Vision: Nine News

Mr Donoghue, 22, left to go wind-surfing but did not return. Several hours later, a search along the shoreline yielded nothing, before his damaged wetsuit and harness were found in the evening. The coroner concluded he had died in a shark attack.

Then, seven years ago, another one of Mr Edwardes' friends was attacked by a shark but escaped with minor injuries.

"It’s uncanny; I don't know if there are too many other small groups of blokes that surf together that have had three run-ins with sharks before," Mr Edwardes, 41, told Nine's Today show on Thursday morning.
Sam Edwardes is the third of his friends to be attacked by a shark.

Sam Edwardes is the third of his friends to be attacked by a shark. Credit:Facebook

On Sunday before dawn Mr Edwardes and Dane Davidson, both teachers and friends for 20 years, entered the water at Belongil Beach, for a surf - an activity the pair did regularly.

"We were quite excited, the surf looked quite good," Mr Edwardes said.

Mr Edwardes hit the waves first but, within minutes, he "felt this thump into my leg".

"You can’t imagine the feeling; it’s a really intense hit," he said.

The thump was a shark that had "latched onto my leg, and really clamped down on it and wouldn’t let go".
Dane Davidson was surfing with Sam Edwardes when he was attacked by a shark.

Dane Davidson was surfing with Sam Edwardes when he was attacked by a shark. Credit:Facebook

Mr Edwardes started "frantically" paddling back towards Mr Davidson, yelling for his friend to get to safety.

"Not once did he yell out the word 'help' at all," Mr Davidson said. "The whole time he said, 'Just go in [to shore], go in.'

Sam Edwardes was lucky to survive the shark bite.
Shark that attacked Byron Bay surfer believed to be great white

"I said, 'I'll wait for you mate, come to me,' sort of thing so I hung in that spot until he got to me and we went in together."

Once they were back on the beach, Mr Edwardes and Mr Davidson saw the extent of the bite for the first time. Mr Davidson told the Herald the bite was about 25 centimetres long and 17 centimetres wide.

"There was an almighty hunk taken out of it," Mr Edwardes said. "That’s when I freaked out and thought, 'This is bad.'

"I was looking up and my vision was starting to go and my breathing was starting to go," he said.

"I thought I was going to die."

Mr Davidson ripped off the leg rope of his surfboard, using it to stem the flow of blood. The friends waited for help to arrive.

The shark’s bite missed any "important arteries", Mr Edwardes said, "but only just."

"I can’t imagine going through that without Dane to help me out," he said. "When you are in a situation where you are vulnerable and left to completely depend on others, you realise how amazing other people are."

Mr Edwardes is in a stable condition at the Gold Coast University Hospital, with friends and family by his side. A GoFundMe page to support his recovery has been set up.

"He's a bit more positive and chatty, but there is long road ahead of him," Mr Davidson said.

Southern Cross Public School, where Mr Edwardes teaches, wrote in a Facebook post: "Students, Staff and families wish a speedy recovery to our valued staff member Sam Edwardes who is recovering in hospital.

"We wish Sam a swift return to our learning community."

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How would you deal with being severely injured by an animal that may have wanted to consume you or just parts of you? A shark attack can be a mindboggling event in a person's life. We know we have been there!
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