A 73-year-old fisherman said that he caught a far bigger fish than he hoped for when a 9-foot great white shark leapt into his boat, knocking him off his feet.
Terry Selwood was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the airborne shark struck him with a pectoral fin as it landed on him on the deck of the 15-foot power boat Saturday off Evans Head, north of Sydney.
Selwood sprung up on the gunnel at the bow of the boat to avoid the thrashing shark and steadied himself by clinging to the tubular metal frame of the sun shelter, known as a bimini.
"I didn’t give it a chance to look me in the eyes. I wanted to get up and get on top of the gunnel because it was thrashing around madly," Selwood told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“Flash Gordon wouldn’t have caught me,” he said, referring to the athletic science fiction comic book hero of the 1930s.
Selwood used a hand-held radio to call the Evans Head Coast Guard and stayed on the gunnel until a rescue boat arrived.
Coast guard skipper Bill Bates said he misread the danger when Selwood reported his predicament.
"He said, 'I’m injured, I’ve broken my arm, I’ve got lacerations and there’s a shark in my boat,'" Bates said.
"Often a fisherman will bring a small shark on board _ maybe 2 or 3 feet _ and they’re still ferocious. That’s what I was expecting, but I was totally wrong," he added.
The coast guard crew rescued Selwood, but left the shark alone. The shark was estimated to weigh some 440 pounds.
"The shark was thrashing inside the boat, taking up the entire deck area. There was no way you’d put a foot in there," Bates said.
The coast guard took Selwood to paramedics at Evans Head, where his badly swollen arm was cleared of any fracture.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.