Hopkins fought the shark off with a paddle, before the pair were able to climb back aboard their sinking kayak.

Australian Shark Attack: Boater Used Paddle To Fend Off Shark

One of two Australian boaters who survived a shark attack yesterday has described his efforts to fight off the predator with a paddle, after it punctured their inflatable kayak, throwing the pair into the water with the animal.

Andrej Kultan and Steve Hopkins were attacked by the shark while paddling their inflatable boat at Castle Rock beach, in the Western Australian town of Dunsborough, around 5 p.m. on Saturday. According to ABC, the shark’s teeth punctured two of the three air chambers that comprised the kayak, causing them to deflate.

During the course of the attack, the two men were thrown from the boat, into the water with the shark. Hopkins noted that the shark, which Kultan estimated to be about three meters long, was not far from where he landed.

“It was pretty close, it was right next to me,” he said, adding, “I had a paddle in my hand, luckily.”

After the shark “bashed” his shoulder, Hopkins struck at it with the paddle. The pair were able to climb back aboard the sinking kayak and paddle the 200 meter distance back to shore, while luckily, according to Kultan, the shark didn’t remain in the area.

“It didn’t hang around… we saw it there moving around us for a couple of seconds then it went away,” he said.

As the Daily Mail notes, the beaches at Castle Rock and Meelup were closed, remaining so until Department of Fisheries officials can reassess the situation. Officials have launched a search for the shark responsible, although the species involved wasn’t immediately apparent. Western Australia has a vibrant shark population, particularly great whites, as The Inquisitr has previously noted.

Around 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, lifeguards spotted a two-meter-long shark, one kilometer to the East of Castle Rock, and heading towards Old Dunsborough beach. Officials have urged beachgoers in the area to use caution and stay informed.

After examining the kayak, shark response unit manager Lisa Clack noted that it appears the shark bit into the boat, rather than bumping it.

“It does look like a series of punctures in an arc, giving the impression of a bite,” she said.

Despite the attack, the Western Australian government has not issued a catch-or-kill order for the shark.

[Image via Parent Herald]

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