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10/23/2023 Boat , Esperance Alexander Bay, Western Australia

2023 Shark Attacks the Latest Shark Attacks and Shark Attack Related Incidents which include Fatal Attacks to minor injuries bites and attacks where the person fought an aggressive shark.
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10/23/2023 Boat , Esperance Alexander Bay, Western Australia

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Shark Bite Bursts Dinghy, Leaving Five Stranded at Sea

ive fishermen who hooked a shark were in for a shock when the animal bit and punctured their inflatable dinghy, stranding them out at sea, miles from shore.

The creature had been hooked by the fishermen, who had been in Alexander Bay, off the Esperance coast near Perth, Western Australia, when the incident occurred, ABC Australia reported. They were over 400 miles from shore when they became stranded.

The shark took a bite out of the boat, causing it to deflate and become submerged in water. This damaged the engine and fuel lines, meaning they had no way of getting back to shore. Authorities realized the five fishermen were missing at around 8 p.m. local time on Sunday, when people noticed they had not returned.

"Shark attacks don't happen a lot, but it is not uncommon for sharks to attack small, slow moving vessels," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told Newsweek.

"We were fishing and we caught a shark, and when we brought it to the front of the boat, it popped the front pontoon," skipper Jacob Ovesby told ABC. "There was a bit of water onboard because we popped the front. It's seen better days. Good for people on the beach to make the right call and call for help. That's probably the most important thing."

Officials from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and DFES Marine Rescue Esperance finally found the men at approximately 3:36 a.m. AEDT.

A rescue aircraft found the boat semi-submerged with all 5 occupants onboard "waving for help," the maritime safety authority said in a statement. "They maintained overhead, ensuring the safety of those stranded until the volunteer vessel arrival," it read.

When the five men were picked up, they slept for the entire four-hour journey home, ABC reported. They were assessed by paramedics who determined they were uninjured.

It is not clear what shark species is responsible for deflating the boat, but over half of the world's shark species can be found in Australian waters.

In this part of the world, the most commonly sighted species by fishermen are the dusky whaler sharks, sandbar sharks, gummy sharks, and whiskery sharks.

However, more infamous and dangerous species can make their way to these waters, too, including great white sharks.

The good news is that attacks like this remain rare, although they have occurred before.

In September, the Australia Maritime Authority rescued three people who had been stranded southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea, after the hulls of the vessel were damaged by several shark attacks.

Sharks do not hunt humans as prey, so attacks usually occur only if they feel provoked threatened in some way. Sharks may also approach boats after mistaking its noises and movements for a prey item.

Update 10/23/23, 9:56 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a quote from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

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