People are always joking about how dangerous it is in Australia. They might use the searing weather or, more likely, the potentially hazardous wildlife to make their point. However, this weekend saw not only a great white shark jump into a boat at Evans Head in New South Wales, but animals also escape from a Perth zoo.
When Evans Head local, Terry Selwood, headed out on his boat for a spot of fishing at Snapper Heads on Saturday afternoon, the last thing he expected was to be hit with a cold fish — literally.
The 73-year-old Australian fisherman was sitting in his boat when a great white shark jumped out of the water and into the boat, causing instant havoc. Mr. Selwood managed to issue a distress call before taking refuge from the shark.
In a phone interview with Australia’s Channel 9, the fisherman relayed his experience with the great white shark.
“This thing hit me in the forearm, spun me around and knocked me off my feet. I fell on the floor on my hands and knees, and looked over and thought, ‘Oh, a bloody shark.'”
According to Mr. Selwood, the shark was “2.7 meters long and about 200 kilos.” With his boat measuring 1.4 meters across and 4.5 meters long, it is lucky he escaped with his life.
“There I was on all fours and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him and then he started to do the dance around and shake and I couldn’t get out quick enough onto the gunnel,” Mr. Selwood revealed via the ABC in Australia.
When Evan Head Marine Rescue arrived on the scene, it was reported the fisherman was “covered in blood” and “quite shook up.” However, on closer inspection, Mr. Selwood was lucky enough to get away with only one potential bite from the great white shark. Most of his other injuries were caused by it thrashing around inside the boat.
“One [cut] was quite deep, so that was a slice of some sort, so possibly from the shark’s teeth, but others were mainly from his struggle to get up onto feet,” said Marine Rescue worker, Lance Fountain.
Mr. Selwood sustained injuries mainly to his arms as he tried to protect his legs from the shark’s onslaught. At one point, Mr. Selwood feared the shark would break his legs. He was also concerned the shark had broken his arm, but thanks to the rough skin of the great white, he had only suffered abrasions.
Mr. Selwood was taken by helicopter Lismore Base Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
The shark reportedly died on the scene, with Mr. Fountain suggesting the animal may have been dead before they had even arrived. The animal was handed over to the Department of Primary Industries for use in further research. While the Evans Head area does employ the use of special buoys that can detect tagged animals in the area, this shark had not been previously tagged, so did not show up on their radar prior to the attack.
Great white sharks are responsible for several deaths every year in Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, New South Wales is the deadliest place to be in relation to shark attacks if you live in Australia. Finder.com.au, using data compiled from Global Shark Attack File, indicates that since 1990 there have been 295 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia. Of these, 122 have occurred in New South Wales. The have been 42 fatalities nationally since 1990. Surfer Today also provides a map of where attacks by sharks occur throughout the world.
Along with this horrific event in Evans Head, New South Wales, on the same weekend, two orangutans escaped from the Perth Zoo in Western Australia. According to Yahoo!, a mother orangutan was trying to rescue her baby after it had fallen from some equipment. A representative for Perth Zoo indicated the baby, Sungai, “lost his grip and fell out of the enclosure while playing, so his mother, Sekara, jumped out to save him.”
Witness, Jess McConnell, spoke of the situation.
“Keepers [were] quite panicked, asking people to keep calm then to move quicker as it’s an emergency situation. The mum leapt down from the silver tower onto the banana tree and the zip line which reverberated the walkway.”
The orangutans were quickly rounded up and returned to the enclosure that is supposed to be escape-proof. No one was injured during the event.
However, this is not the first time orangutans have escaped from the Perth Zoo. Two years prior, an orangutan escaped from a different enclosure and managed to walk among zoo visitors before it was contained.
[Featured Image by gremlin/iStock]