Shark bite 'didn't hurt', says diver
December 21, 2009 - 5:31PM
Shark attack victim John Pengelly, 19, in recovery after emergency surgery at Royal Brisbane Hospital. Photo: Chris Barrett
The teenage spearfishing champion attacked by a bull shark off Gladstone yesterday says he felt no pain, despite being left with severed tendons and arteries on his arm from the frightening confrontation.
John Pengelly, 19, spoke this afternoon for the first time about the attack at Lamont Reef, 80km east of Gladstone, that occurred while he was freediving with two friends.
He said he had just returned to the surface after shooting a Mangrove Jack fish when the shark struck.
Mr Pengelly praised the calm resolve of his friends, who used shirts to wrap his wounds before racing him back to Heron Island for medical attention.
"I was talking to my mate then I got hit from underneath by a bull shark...my mate said it was 2.5 to three metres," said Mr Pengelly, now recovering after surgery on his arm at Royal Brisbane Hospital.
"After he hit me it was just 'don't panic'. Both me and my mates looked at each other and told each other not to panic and made our way back to the boat.
"I trust my two mates that I dive with and they handled it well. If I wasn't diving with my partners I definitely wouldn't be here right now."
Asked whether the shark attack hurt, Mr Pengelly replied: "No not at all. Me and my two dive partners were actually having a laugh about it on the way back in to the island.
"The adrenaline must have still been running - there wasn't much pain at all until I got to surgery. The most I felt was his body hitting me, which was like attacking a football."
Mr Pengelly's half-hour journey back to Heron Island took much longer than it should have, however. As revealed by brisbanetimes.com.au today, a group of nearby fishermen on a larger, faster vessel refused to transport him and his friends back to land, leaving them to make their way in their five-metre fibreglass boat.
He said he was disappointed the fishermen did not offer to help, although they did radio through to Heron Island to report the incident.
"After I got hit there was a much bigger and [more] stable boat that could have got me there a lot quicker," Mr Pengelly said.
"Unfortunately they refused to help. They did manage to radio into Heron Island, I'll give them that, that definitely did help. But we were a bit disappointed that they couldn't get me in quicker.
"Apparently they were fishing overnight out there. It definitely did irritate us."
Mr Pengelly, who has regained feeling in his fingers but has been told to "take it easy" for 12 weeks and undergo intense physiotherapy, said he had "no hard feelings" against the shark that seriously wounded him.
He said the experience would not deter him from resuming spearfishing once his recovery is complete.
"We're divers in their waters. If he wanted to eat me he would have," he said.
"It was just an enquiry bite.
"I'll definitely be a bit more aware of their presence but I've swum with up to 10 at a time on previous weekends and they've never really seemed to bother me.
"Just wrong place, mistaken identity."
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensl ... -l9wj.html