INJURED – 9 May 2008 – Middelton Beach, Albany, Western Australia – swimmer attacked
CAPTION: taken immediately after shark attack at Middleton Beach. The picture shows Joanne Lucas helping victim Jason Cull to shore (two heads in foreground) while Jason’s two friends swim to shore (the two heads further out) kicking the water to scare the shark off. It’s fin can be seen close behind.
Jason Cull, 37, suffered major wounds to his left leg after being bitten by a four-metre White Pointer (Great White) shark while swimming with two friends about 80 metres off Middleton Beach in Albany, Western Australia. The attack occurred about 7.30am Friday 9 May 2008.
In a remarkable act of bravery he was rescued by a local woman, mother-of-three Joanne Lucas who swam out to him and brought him to shore. His two friends swam in behind them while the shark circled them just metres away.
Cull told media he saw a dark shape in the water and thought it was a dolphin.
“It was much bigger than a dolphin when it came up. It banged straight into me – I realised what it was, it was a shark,” he said.
“I sort of punched it, and it grabbed me by the leg and dragged me under the water.
“I just remember being dragged backwards underwater. I felt along it, I found its eye and I poked it in the eye, and that’s when it let go.”
Lucas, who was on the beach at the time of the attack, told media about the incident.
“I just saw someone thrashing in the water and saying ‘Help me, help me.
“I thought it was just a dolphin [in the water] but someone else was screaming, `He has been attacked,’ so I raced down there.”
“Instinct just kicked in.
“I didn’t even have to think about it, which is amazing really. It all just happened. I didn’t think, I just thought I had to get in there.
“I got to him and he said: ‘Thank God. Thank you so much — a shark has attacked my leg.”
“It thought it was a dolphin to start with, but when he told me it had taken a big chunk (from his leg), I thought `Oh no’.
“I kept thinking that I’ve got to get him in before it turns around and comes after us. I was thinking I have to beat (the shark) in (to shore).
“I just kept pulling him through the water, pulling him in.”
Lucas said when they got to shore, they wrapped towels on the wounds as makeshift pressure bandages. “He had huge chunks taken out of his leg, his calf and the knee area,” she said. I just kept talking to him because I didn’t want him to go unconscious. Everyone was so good, they all just got into the mode and helped out. He held it together, he was just fantastic.”
Cull was treated by surf club members on the beach, given first aid and oxygen, and taken by St John Ambulance to Albany Regional Hospital, where he underwent surgery on his left leg. He was later reported in a stable condition.
Perth Now. Photo by Mark Bickerdike