INJURED – 11 January 2009 — Binalong Bay, near St Helens, Tasmania – surfer attacked
In a second shark attack in Australia in the same day, a 13-year-old girl, Hannah Mighall, was bitten on the lower right leg by a 5-metre white pointer shark while surfing with her male cousin at Baileys Rocks, Binalong Bay, near St Helens, Tasmania. The incident occurred around 3.45pm on Sunday, 11 January 2009.
The shark dragged the girl underwater twice before the cousin, in a remarkable act of bravery, reached the scene on his surfboard and hit the shark which was latched onto the girl’s leg. The shark let go and he put her on his surfboard and paddled with her to shore. The shark kept circling them as they made their way to the beach.
A policeman is quoted as saying the cousin, Syb Mundy, a man in his 20s from Queensland, managed to pull the teenager onto his surfboard and began to paddle towards the shore. But the shark followed and circled the frightened pair as they frantically paddled towards shore. At one stage they caught a wave, but the shark was in the same wave
Ian Hollingsworth was surfing 20 to 40 metres away and saw the attack, and the efforts of the girl’s male cousin to protect her.
“It was basically a scene out of ‘Jaws’,” he told the media.
“The shark went around and I saw it actually come out of the water and hit her.
“It then went around, I believe I saw her going backwards, and she was screaming.
“The guy was just fighting to save her. All the time the shark was circling.”
Hollingsworth says he then helped the cousin apply first aid.
“We carried her up onto the beach,” he said.
“I got the leg rope off the surfboard and put a tourniquet around her leg, then I raced up to the car because I knew I had a lot of towels in the car, and we bandaged her leg, and we just got her stabilised on the beach.”
The policeman said there was a significant bite out of the surfboard.
“I understand there was a fair bit of blood in the water.”
He said when she was brought ashore “she was really calm, she was brave, probably in a little bit of shock. There were no tears.”
He said the actions of the teenager’s cousin had saved her life.
The teenager was airlifted to a hospital in Hobart. Her injuries were not expected to be life threatening.