A violent shark attack struck a man who was snorkeling over the weekend and he says his snorkeling mask is what saved his life. National News in Australia reports that Adam Haling, 31, was on his way into Gnaraloo waters off the coast of Western Australia when he was mauled by a shark on Saturday. He and friend, Mick Slocombe, went out spearfishing before things turned almost deadly and a 10-hour drive to the hospital would take place.
Haling, from Perth, speared a fish and was in shallow waters when a reef shark rammed him in the face and tore off his snorkeling mask. The impact caused him to drop the fish he’d caught that day. The man recalls seeing the “front of its mouth on my face.”
“Its top jaw hit my mask, and the bottom jaw hit underneath my chin,” he adds. “As it came down it ripped my mask.”
The shark wasn’t through, though. Haling says the shark was circling him as he held around his neck where the shark had just bitten him.
“I saw the fin do a big arc, and I thought, oh no…surely the shark realizes that I have dropped the fish. It was a bit like Jaws.
“It then took the fish I had and it was gone. I think it was chasing the fish I had in my hand, and at the last minute it hit me instead the fish.”
The snorkeler explains that the only thing on his mind was getting out of there and alerting Mick.
“Shark. Help. We need to get out of here,” he yelled.
Adam Haling describes the scene after that as “holding” his “face together.” Adam was covered in blood and knew he was in serious danger due to the amount he was losing.
Haling then tries running back to his car, but feels light-headed. He slows down to a walk, experiencing terrible sensations in his face due to the extent of injury he sustained from the attack.
“… I thought I’m in trouble here I might not make it to the car, I was thinking s**t, this could be it,” Adam says.
Slocombe drove him back to the camp site that’s near Gnaraloo Station. Two doctors on vacation rushed to help Haling by giving him painkillers. They determine that Haling’s cartoid artery and jugular vein weren’t ruptured. After that brief moment of relief, Slocombe drove Haling to another coastal town, Carnarvon. They were lucky and met up with a mine that opened a private road for them to have a more direct, quick route to Carnarvon. Three hours later, they were there.
“Surprisingly I was running on adrenalin the whole time, the only thing you can do in these situations is make light of it. The nurses were very helpful and took great care of me, and cleaned me up,” Haling says.
Haling waited to be flown back to Perth. When he tells his girlfriend, Sonia Harvey, about the violent shark attack, she was “stunned” and “couldn’t say anything for about 20 seconds,” Haling goes on to say.
At around midnight, Haling had made it to The Royal Flying Doctor’s Service to Royal Perth Hospital after being airlifted.
It took three-and-a-half hours of surgery for doctors to sew his face back together.
Adam Haling says:
“The doctors said I had very clean cuts, as a shark’s teeth is so sharp, they were able to sew everything back together, even the nurses never thought it’d come back together like that.”
Mick Slocombe is praised by Haling for being as calm as he was throughout the ordeal:
“Mick was really good, really calm. It was a big thing, it was quite traumatic … I’m still a bit shaken up but I’ve been pretty lucky.”
This attack by the reef shark isn’t scaring Haling away from the water. He shares:
“The ocean is a big part of my life, I’ve always understood and accepted the risks, and I don’t think the attack will deter me at all, it’ll probably make me do things differently in the water if I am spearfishing. Surely I can’t get bitten twice!”
The violent shark attack could have been far worse if it weren’t for his mask, the snorkeler believes:
“My mask absolutely saved me, if the shark had hit me any lower, it would’ve taken my jugular out, and if it had of torn sideways it would have been all over.”
In a separate article involving Western Australia shark attacks, Matthew Holmes, received an Australian Bravery Decoration for pulling Ben Linden out of the water and onto his jetski following shark attack. In My Community reports that the incident happened two years ago off Wedge Island, north of Lancelin.
[Images via National News]