Pregnant Australian Woman Attacked By Suspected Bull Shark In Thailand

A 37-year-old Australian woman has been attacked by a shark while swimming in shallow waters on the Thai resort island of Phuket, leaving her with serious injuries to her left foot and leg.

Jane Neame was bitten by what she believes was a shark in waist deep water in the midst of breaking waves, according to Nine News. Her partner, Robert Passmore, has been credited with rescuing her after the attack, carrying her out of the surf. Neame, who is six months pregnant, suffered serious injuries to her left leg, including a severed tendon, for which she underwent surgery at the island’s Bangkok hospital.

“It’s very painful. It severed my tendon. The fish took it away,” she recalled. “I may have stood on it and then it bit me. It’s hard to say because it bit underneath my foot and on top… I felt it tear at me. It felt like a shark. I’m from Queensland, so we have sharks there, but I wouldn’t have expected sharks to be here.”

Though a spokesman for the hospital could not confirm that the injuries were caused by a shark, a marine expert weighed in on the incident on social media, asserting on Facebook that Neame’s wounds were indeed the result of a shark attack. Dr. Thorn Thamrongnavaswasdi, who is the vice dean of the fishery faculty of Kasetsart University, not only claimed that the injuries were the work of a shark, but also postulated that it was a bull shark that was likely responsible for them, given the depth of water and the species’ status as one of the most likely to attack humans.

As the Chiangrai Times points out, shark attacks are considered rare on the resort island, with one of the last notable incidents taking place roughly a decade ago. Local divers assert that it is highly unusual to see sharks of any species in the nearby seas, and even more uncommon to find them in open water.

While Neame’s surgery was considered a success, it remains too early to determine whether or not she will regain the full use of her leg. Despite the shark attack, she asserts that the couple intend to return to Thailand in the future.

[Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images]