A South African spearfisherman survived an attack by a great white shark over the weekend, lashing out at the massive predator and striking its eye to drive it away before he was pulled to safety.
The attack took place on Saturday near Port St. Johns, a coastal town in South Africa, according to the Telegraph. Mathieu Dasnois, a 29-year-old diver, was part of a group sightseeing tour and entered the ocean to test out a new dive mask. Though he remained in shallows near the boat, Dasnois was in the water just a few moments before other members of the tour spotted the dorsal fin of a great white breaking the surface and heading in his direction.
“It was bloody huge,” Dasnois recalled. “I didn’t see the first attack, it gripped my leg, took it in its mouth and swam. I poked it in the eye with my left thumb.”
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) May 4, 2015
The shark attacked Dasnois multiple times, letting him go and then returning, AOL News reports. According to Craig Lambinon from the National Sea Rescue Institute (NRSI), the great white was only dissuaded by the efforts of the nearby boat’s crew.
“Mathieu dived, surfaced and dived a second time when the dorsal fin of a 3.5m to 4m white shark was seen approaching. The shark grabbed Mathieu’s hand which Mathieu used to fend off the shark and it appeared that the shark went past Mathieu.”
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) April 30, 2015
As the boat maneuvered to provide aid to Dasnois, the shark attacked again, grabbing his foot in its mouth. Dasnois managed to free his limb, and when the great white attempted to breach and attack once more, the boat moved in to block the shark.
Once aboard the boat, Dasnois was provided medical attention by two crew members who were NRSI volunteers. After being rushed to a hospital, he later updated friends on his condition through Facebook.
“So before rumors start seeping too much: I am a shark attack survivor. I squared up with a 4m great white. Not my most successful fight, but I’m essentially fine. Will regain full use of my entire body. Got lucky and had great help. Except for my fin, the shark took my brand new fin. Grrrr.”
“Meh. The sea giveth and the sea taketh away. But that guy really wanted me. Must have been something I ate. I should slow down on the crayfish.”
South Africa is known for its indigenous population of great whites and a vibrant cage diving industry, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. Last month, a kayaker was struck by a great white shark just off the coast, which circled him for an hour after the attack before he was able to make it to shore.
[Image: Alison Towner/Marine Dynamics via National Geographic]