INJURED — 9 November 2006 — Nahoon River, East London, South Africa — swimmer attacked

Richard Tebbutt was bitten on the left arm by a 1.5 metre Zambezi shark after he mistakenly grabbed it by the tail, thinking it was a fish a fisherman had on the end of his line.

In this rather odd incident which took place in the Nahoon River, close to the mouth, on Thursday 9 November 2006, Tebbutt was paddling his canoe on the river when he saw a fisherman struggling with a fish he had caught. Tebbutt jumped out of his canoe thinking he would assist the fisherman with his catch. He dived down and grabbed the fish by its tail, but it turned out to be a Zambezi shark, which turned and bit him on the left arm.

Tebbutt told the local newspaper, the Daily Dispatch: “I just jumped out of my canoe and dived down and grabbed the fish by its tail … I got a shock of my life when I saw a big Zambezi shark, charging towards me.

“The shark quickly turned around, grabbed my left arm and lacerated it. Within a split second, I saw my blood in the river.

“I just smacked the shark as hard as I could with my right arm to get it to let go of me.

“I was in the water holding my arm which was bleeding profusely, and the shark started coming towards me very fast.

“I immediately jumped out of the water onto the rocks and it missed me … I could have been dead by now.”

Tebbutt was helped by his son, also out paddling a canoe on the river. He was taken to St Dominics Hospital where he had 50 stitches.

He told the newspaper: “I was shocked that I had overcome the shark. Its strength was unbelievable.

“In my 30 years in surfing, I never thought I would have this kind of experience.”

There have been several shark attacks on surfers in the East London area over the years.

Zambezi sharks are renown for scavenging up rivers and in river mouths. They are also known as Bull sharks and are notorious for attacks on people around the world.

Sources:
Daily Dispatch

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