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01/24/2006 Eric Nerhus (Australia)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2007.
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01/24/2006 Eric Nerhus (Australia)

Post by sharkbait »

Australian fights free after shark 'swallows his head'


An Australian diver described from his hospital bed Tuesday how he fought free from the jaws of a great white shark which had "swallowed" his head.
The huge predator's bite crushed 41-year-old Eric Nerhus's face-mask, broke his nose and shredded his wetsuit, leaving blood pouring from deep gashes in his head, chest and back.

"He was actually bitten by the head down, the shark swallowed his head," friend and fellow diver Dennis Luobikis told reporters.

Nerhus, who was protected from the worst of the shark's bite by a lead-lined weight vest, told friends later he stabbed and clubbed at the shark's head and eyes with an abalone chisel until it spat him free.

As he surfaced off Cape Howe, near Eden on the southeast coast, Nerhus was hauled aboard a boat by his son Mark.

"He come up to the surface, he was going, 'Help, help there's a shark, there's a shark'," Mark told television networks.

"I went over and there was a big pool of red blood and I pulled him out of the water and he was going, 'Just get me to shore, get me to shore'."

Divers in a nearby boat gave first aid and one radioed his father, who was flying overhead in a spotter plane, to call for emergency help.

A rescue helicopter airlifted Nerhus to Wollongong Hospital, where he was treated for shock and loss of blood and may face surgery, a spokeswoman said.

Doctors said the three-meter (10-foot) shark had "taken the diver completely into its mouth", the national AAP news agency reported.

"Eric is a tough boy, he's super-fit," said Luobikis, 53. "But I would say that would test anyone's resolve, being a fish lunch.

"He'd have a better chance of winning the lottery (than surviving that attack), and I think he would have rather done that."

Luobikis said Nerhus' weight vest had probably saved his life.

"We've always felt (the vest) would probably help us in a shark attack and this is the first time we've had it confirmed," Luobikis said.

He said several great white sharks, also known as white pointers, had been spotted in the area recently due to unusually cold waters, but the attacks were extremely rare.

"I have been a professional diver in Eden for 36 years and I'm not aware of any white pointer attacks in that time," he said. The attack occurred in murky waters nine meters deep.

Ten people have been killed by sharks in Australia since 2000. The most recent death was in January, when 21 year-old Sarah Wiley died at a popular tourist beach on the east coast's North Stradbroke Island.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/archiv ... 100784.htm
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Post by sharkbait »

Attack witness: 'The shark swallowed his head'

SYDNEY, Australia -- A diver escaped a 10-foot shark's attack by poking the animal in its eye after it had already chomped on his head once and was preparing for another bite, witnesses and officials said today.

Eric Nerhus, 41, was flown to a hospital with serious injuries to his head, body and left arm after the attack today off Cape Howe, about 250 miles south of Sydney.

The shark grabbed Nerhus by the head, crushing his face mask and breaking his nose, said Dennis Luobikis, a fellow diver who witnessed the attack.

"He was actually bitten by the head down -- the shark swallowed his head," Luobikis said.

The shark, believed to be a great white, came back for a second bite, clenching its jaws around Nerhus' torso and leaving deep lacerations in his side, said Luobikis.

Nerhus wrestled free of the shark's jaws, and later told rescue workers he had poked the shark in the eye, an unidentified worker from the Snowy Hydro Rescue Helicopter service told local media.

Nerhus was pulled from the water by his 25-year-old son and rushed to a hospital, suffering blood loss and shock.

"Eric is a tough boy. He's super fit," said Luobikis. "But I would say that would test anyone's resolve, being a fish lunch."

Shark attacks are relatively common in Australian waters, home to some of the world's deadliest sea life. Scientists say there are an average of 15 shark attacks a year in Australia -- one of the highest rates in the world -- and just over 1 per year are fatal.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar ... e=printart

Eric returns to the water:

Shark victim swims again
By Steve Gee

May 07, 2007 12:00

Article from: Font size: + -
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HIS head-first escape from the jaws of a 5m great white shark was like winning the lottery 100 times over.

But Eric Nerhus is back abalone diving, convinced lightning will not strike twice.

Ignoring the protests of family and his own fears, the 40-year-old diver returned to the water three weeks ago – though he steers clear of the attack site off Eden, on the Far South Coast.

The laconic father-of-two yesterday told The Daily Telegraph he missed the water too much to stay away.

He insists he does not have a death wish. "To be taken on the bottom, going head first into a great white was a very rare occasion," he said.

"And I've learned a lesson. I won't be diving offshore in dirty water again."

Mr Nerhus was diving off Cape Howe, about 20km south of Eden, with his 15-year-old son, Mark, driving their boat, when he was grabbed head first by the 5m shark on January 23.

He was saved only by his lead-lined safety vest and his instinctive move to gouge its eye, which forced it to release him.

A shark expert who measured his wounds told him he was attacked by a white pointer more than 5m long.

At least 14 of the shark's teeth punctured his vest, leaving bite marks from the right shoulder to below the left armpit requiring 75 stitches.

Since the attack, Mr Nerhus has undergone constant physiotherapy to recover full movement of his badly damaged left shoulder.

He admits his family remain upset with his decision.

"They constantly remind me to get another job on land," he said.

"But diving and fishing are all I've done in my life. There aren't many options here and it's not really the money, I just enjoy it."

He made his first dive on April 7 and has since returned on at least six occasions. Still plagued by nightmares and night sweats, he said he occasionally relives the attack, waking "in that black hole getting crushed like a vice".

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/s ... 09,00.html
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Post by sharkbait »

Australian diver tells of being swallowed by shark
Wed 24 Jan 2007 4:10 AM ET
SYDNEY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - An Australian diver on Wednesday told of how he wriggled free from the jaws of a Great White Shark that had half-swallowed him head first, saying he could feel the shark's teeth sink into his weight vest.

"I've never felt fear like it til I was inside those jaws, with those teeth getting dragged across my body," abalone diver Eric Nerhus told the Nine television network from his hospital bed a day after the attack off Australia's south-east coast.

Nerhus, 41, was partly swallowed by the 3-metre (9 foot) shark when it attacked at about 8 metres below the surface, but said he managed managed to fight his way free by jabbing the shark's eye with his free left hand.

"I went straight into its mouth, front onwards. My shoulders, my head and one arm went straight down into its throat. I could feel the teeth crunching up and down on my weight vest," he said.

Nerhus said he was collecting abalone when the shark struck, knocking the regulator, which supplies oxygen, from his mouth and leaving him inside the shark's open jaws and throat.

"I put my left arm down the side of its face because my head and shoulders and right arm were right down in its throat. Half my body was in its mouth," Nerhus said.

"I felt down to the eye socket with my stiff fingers. I poked my fingers into the eye socket, which the shark reacted to in a way that it opened its mouth a bit, and I just tried to wriggle out."

As he pulled his head from the shark's mouth, it crushed his goggles against his face, leaving Nerhus with a broken nose.

He estimated he was in the shark's grip for up to two minutes. Once free, he grabbed his regulator for air and began to surface slowly, worried the shark circling him would attack again.

"It was just circling around my flippers, around and around in tight circles," he said. "As I was coming up out of the water, it was coming up under my legs."

Nerhus was pulled from the water by his son and other divers in their fishing boat before being flown to hospital, where he was treated for lacerations around his body and his broken nose.

The diver said he was lucky to survive, but he was determined not to die in the jaws of a shark.

"I couldn't think of a worse way to go than to end up as fish food. That's why I fought back. I was determined I didn't want to go like that. I like life too much," he said.

"I'm so fortunate that my survival instincts and reflexes took over." ((Reporting by James Grubel, editing by Bill Tarrant; james.grubel@reuters.com; Reuters Messaging: james.grubel.reuters.com@reuters.net, +612 6273 2730))

http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArt ... =SYD338271
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Post by sharkbait »

'Swallowed' By Great White
Updated: 10:55, Tuesday January 23, 2007

An Australian diver has told of his amazing escape after being partially swallowed head first by a Great White shark.

Eric Nerhus, 41, suffered just a broken nose, cuts and bruising after fighting his way out of the man-eater's jaws.

"The shark swallowed his head," said fellow diver Dennis Luobikis.

Rescuers said the 10ft shark inflicted extensive bites on the diver.

"He stated that he was head-first into the shark," said a spokeswoman for Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue service.

"When he came to us he was conscious and alert but had a broken nose and lacerations to both sides of his torso and chest - bite marks all the way around."

The abalone diver was with friends off Cape Howe, near Eden on Australia's southeast coast, when the shark attacked.

Mr Nerhus gets treatment "It was black. He didn't see it coming, but he felt the bite and then started getting shaken, and that's when he knew he was in the mouth of the shark," said local diver Michael Mashado.

Mr Nerhus told friends his weighted vest had saved him.

"The brunt of the bite was taken by his lead-weight vest. It's all over your torso. Eric said to me at the wharf that his weight vest saved him," Mr Luobikis said.

Mr Nerhus fought frantically to free himself from the shark's jaws and was eventually pulled back aboard his boat by his 25-year-old son.

"He pushed his abalone chisel into its head while it was biting and it let him go and swam away," Mr Luobikis said.

"Eric is a tough boy, he's super fit. But I would say that would test anyone's resolve, being a fish lunch."

Attacks by Great White sharks are usually fatal because of the massive size of the predators.

Australia has had a number of shark attacks in the past year.

A 21-year-old woman died last January after she was attacked by three sharks while swimming off an island on Australia's northeast coast.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,, ... 03,00.html
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