An Australia man is recuperating after what could have been a deadly encounter with a shark off Diamond Head, just south of the Australia coastal town of Port Macquarie. Luke Allan was surfing when he was bitten several times, losing a couple of fingers in a quick and bloody battle with what appeared to be a bull shark.
According to the Manning River Times, the 29-year-old was reported in stable condition at a Newcastle hospital later in the day. Allan was airlifted from the scene of the incident soon after the attack.
Allan was out with family and friends when the shark attack occurred.
He told Australia’s 7 News that he had to fight off the shark twice. The shark attacked his leg, so he punched the beast.
“I looked down and saw a bull shark having a go at my leg,” he said. “I felt the pressure under my board and then I felt a big knock underneath.
“I hit him as hard as I could in the nose and then I tried to hit him again with the pointy end of my surfboard.”
Allan admitted he paid a price for fending off the shark, adding, “…but I did the job – he didn’t come back for more.”
Senior Constable Chris Rowley, of Laurieton police, told Brie Snare, a Port News reporter at the scene, that the surfer immediately began punching at the shark in the nose as it attacked him several times.
‘‘I don’t know what the right way to turn the attack back on a shark is, but it appears punching it in the nose is a pretty good trick,’’ Rowley said. ‘‘He is a pretty tough rooster.’’
An ITN report noted that Allan’s friends helped him to shore and used their surfboard leg ropes as makeshift tourniquets to slow the bleeding. Paramedic Ian Spencer praised their quick thinking, stating that they saved Allan’s life, keeping him from bleeding to death before help could arrive.
Save for the missing digit and the tip of another finger, Allan is expected to make a full recovery.
Allan said that the attack hasn’t fazed him and he’ll get back in the water as soon as he can. “I don’t know of anyone that’s been attacked twice,” he told 7 News.
Still, the young surfer can count himself among the lucky survivors of a shark attack.
In July, a surfer was killed off Wedge Island (about 100 miles north of Perth, Australia) by what appeared to be a 16-foot great white shark. The death marked the fifth fatality of 2012 for western Australia alone.
According to the International Shark Attack File maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 12 fatal attacks (out of a total of 75) around the world in 2011, with only three occurring in Australia. However, historically Australian coasts have seen the most annual fatalities throughout the world.
Of over 370 species of sharks, only 30 have ever been identified as attacking humans. Of that number, three stand out as predominant: the tiger, bull, and great white.