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11/03/2007 Lee Mellin (South Africa)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2007.
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11/03/2007 Lee Mellin (South Africa)

Post by sharkbait »

'Luckily it was just a puncture'
04/11/2007 23:09 - (SA)

Tanya van Heerden and Maricelle Botha, Die Burger

East London - "The shark was onto me in a flash. But luckily I was only punctured - no arteries were damaged or muscles torn."

That's the word from a relieved Lee Mellin, 37, after a nasty encounter with what was presumably a Great White.

"It was scary," he added.

Rob Mellin, Lee's father said he'd heard afterwards that Lee had just seen the fin between himself and a friend, when the shark headed straight for him.

Lee and his friend Lee Solsworthy went in search of waves early on Saturday at Bonza Bay.

Rob said the two Lees had been waiting for the perfect wave when Solsworthy suddenly saw "a big fish".

"They decided to head for shore, but when Lee (Solsworthy) looked back, he just saw this huge fin."

The shark first nibbled at Mellin jnr's surfboard and then went for his leg. "Luckily the surfboard was between the shark's jaws and my son's leg."

Solsworthy and Mellin beat a hasty retreat to the beach, where Mellin phoned his parents to alert the hospital that he was on the way to casualties.

Mellin was admitted to the Life St Dominic Hospital and underwent an operation to stitch up the wound to his leg.

"It's a blessing that the damage isn't too serious. And it won't be necessary to amputate the leg," Rob Mellin said.

He said the Eastern Cape's police disaster manager, Captain John Fobian, had examined the board and believed that it had been a 3m-long Great White.

Siani Tinley, head of Buffalo City marine services said they would send off the surfboard, which had been broken in half, to determine exactly what shark species it had been.

http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Afri ... 81,00.html
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Post by sharkbait »

Surfer survives ‘Jaws’ attack

SHARK WARNING: Lance Parnet from Netcare 911, with part of the surfboard, after Bonza Bay was closed. Picture: PHILLIP NOTHNAGEL

MELLIN’S WOUND: A 38cm gash

SMILE OF RELIEF: Lee Mellin recovering at St Dominic's yesterday. Picture: NIGEL LOUW

Great White shatters board and leaves gash in EL man’s thigh


AN EAST London surfer was recovering in hospital yesterday after being attacked by a monster shark – just hours before the movie Jaws was being rebroadcast on TV.

The shark, believed to be a Great White, shattered Lee Mellin’s surf board and left a 38 centimetre wound down his thigh in the attack at Bonza Bay.

“The doctor said I’m the luckiest shark attack victim he has ever seen and I definitely agree,” said Mellin, 37, pointing at his bandaged left thigh yesterday.

Speaking from his St Dominic’s hospital bed, Mellin said it was his “survivor’s instinct” that saved his life.

He remained conscious throughout the attack and yesterday gave a vivid account of his encounter with the Great White – even though it all happened “within a split second”.

Mellin and his friend, Leigh Stolworthy, were riding the waves at about 8.45am on Saturday when they saw this “big fish” close by.

“There was nothing we could do,” he said. “It just popped up between us.”

Although in pain and still counting his “lucky stars”, Mellin managed to joke and laugh about the attack:

“There was this massive white shark bursting out of the water, real Jaws-like …

“It obviously gave one look at Leigh thinking he didn’t have enough meat, so he went at me.

“It was a flippin’ big thing.

“ I was still on my board and it came for me.

“I just felt its jaws sinking
in ...

“I think the shark’s teeth got stuck in the surfboard. It then took another bite, but by then I let go of my board.

“It just bit the board again.”

Mellin, son of retired Daily Dispatch photographer Rob Mellin, said he started to panic and remembered screaming and shouting at Stolworthy: “Help me!”

“It all happened in … seconds.

“Afterwards we got onto our boards and paddled back.

“I was worried it would come back and strike again, but Leigh kept assuring me that it was nowhere in sight.”

Mellin, who three years ago returned to East London after spending about six years in London, managed to walk to Stolworthy’s bakkie.

They rushed to the hospital where Mellin was taken into the operating theatre for stitches.

Mellin, who has been surfing most of his life, said it was simply a case of being at the “wrong place at the wrong time”.

Stolworthy said he was also “lucky to be alive”.

“It was really close,” he recalled. “I was looking at it all the time and thinking: This can’t be for real!”

Mellin’s surfboard was bitten in two and teeth marks left on the two parts were evidence of the size of the shark.

The two surfers think the shark was about three metres long, and Mellin reckoned the dorsal fin was about 40 centimetres.

Buffalo City marine services chief Siani Tinley said it was likely the shark was a Great White but tests on the teeth marks on the surfboard and Mellin’s wound would confirm the species.

Tinley added that the clean and cold seawater was conducive to Great White feeding conditions.

Bonza Bay, Nahoon and Gonubie beach were closed with shark warnings on Saturday, but re-opened after 8am yesterday.

Both Mellin and Stolworthy told of seeing sharks before but they had never had a close encounter.

However, they agreed they will soon be back in the water – surfing, of course.

l The Steven Spielberg movie Jaws is about a US resort being forced to close its beaches after a Great White attacks bathers.

http://www.dispatch.co.za/2007/11/05/Ea ... alead.html
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