Coast shark attack relived
MICK Grace will never forget the day he saw his brother almost bitten in half by a shark at Maroochydore beach.
As Western Australia’s surfing community mourns the victim of a fatal shark attack this week, Mick recalled the day his brother was almost taken by a white pointer 35 years ago.
Mick was about 17 years old and was surfing with his older brother Gary and a few mates in front of the Sea Breeze Caravan Park.
Mick had moved away from the group right before “all hell broke loose”.
“We were sort of thinking we should go in and next thing: bang! This thing hit Gary from underneath, about 100 mile an hour,” Mick said.
The shark pulled Gary and part of his surfboard under.
“There was just a big splash. You didn’t know what to do.”
Mick said the shark could only take the foam board “so far” before it had to release the board and Gary slipped out of its mouth, kicking furiously to the surface.
“He was kicking and screaming when he came to the surface,” Mick said, before the shark came back at his brother.
“It wanted to eat him. If he didn’t have his surfboard he would be dead.
“(Gary) must have kicked it right in the mouth because he had a big tooth mark on his heel. And all I saw then was its big tail as it took off.”
Gary’s mates paddled him to the sand and he was rushed to hospital where he needed about 160 stitches for the wound around his buttocks and legs.
“He got to the beach and stood up. I was amazed he could stand up – I thought he would have been ripped in half,” Mick said.
Gary miraculously survived, despite fears he would lose too much blood.
He doesn’t talk about the attack much these days.
In a Woman’s Day article in 1975, a few months after the incident, Gary told a reporter: “Without the board he would have chomped me in half. I couldn’t see its face. Just a big, grey-black mass and I kicked at it, screaming out ‘no, no, no’.”
Gary told the magazine he was having nightmares about the shark, which he said “felt like wet and dry sandpaper”.
“I didn’t feel any actual pain but I knew what was happening. I could feel him shaking me but I couldn’t feel him tearing into the flesh or anything. It was like a dog had got hold of my shirt and was shaking me. I thought I was gone,” Women’s Day reported.
Mick (pictured below) said these days he still surfed as often as he could but the attack on his brother made him more aware in the water.
In the weeks after the incident Mick said he “kept seeing things” coming at him in the water, which stopped him surfing for a little while.
He said the fatal attack in WA should remind surfers of the dangers of murky conditions.
“You’ve got to be alert in the water, always looking around and seeing what’s going on,” he said.
http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/st ... ore-beach/
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