INJURED – 7 July 2009 – Jongensfontein, Southern Cape, South Africa – surfer attacked
Paul Buckley, 37, suffered lacerations to his left leg after he was bitten by an estimated 3.5 metre great white shark while surfing at Kakgats at Jongensfontein on the southern Cape coast, South Africa. The incident occurred on Tuesday 7 July 2009.
The shark sunk its teeth into his left thigh and held on for a couple of seconds before releasing him and swimming away.
Buckley describes the incident.
I was actually paddling back to shore because I hadn’t had a great surf when I was flipped in the air with such force.
It sounded like a growl or a grunt – maybe from the impact.
I just knew in my gut that it was a shark. It was like a 500lb Rottweiler in a very bad mood.
The force was incredible. The first thing I said when I was attacked was "No, please God not like this."
I didn’t see the shark’s eyes because his back was towards me but that was when I grabbed its tail.
No doubt I was scared. I feared for my life so I just grabbed it. I thought if I held it by the tail, its mouth could not reach me again.
The bite in Buckley’s board measured 37cm wide and 3cm deep into the board.
A National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson said “it was a bloody big fish” and reckoned it must have measured about 3.5 metres and was most likely a great white.
The bite on Buckley’s leg was about 30cm wide.
Watching from his parent’s balcony, 14-year-old Pieter de Witt saw the surfer start to thrash around in the water.
De Witt rushed down to the sea where he met Buckley and Phil Norton – who had been surfing with Buckley – while his sister brought a car down to the beach.
"The first we knew of it was when we saw Paul paddling slowly towards the beach. He paddled right onto the sand and was holding his leg," said Norton.
"We bundled him into the car and rushed him to a local doctor who sewed it shut. From there we dashed to Mossel Bay hospital where a specialist sewed it up."
According to Norton, the doctors said Buckley was lucky no flesh had been torn off and the shark’s teeth hadn’t ruptured an artery or torn his hamstring.
PIC: Buckley and De Witt
PIC Source: Mail Online