A 73-year-old Australian fisherman caught something much larger than he ever expected on Saturday.
Terry Selwood was fishing in the calm waters off Evans Head, on the New South Wales north coast, 725 kilometers (450 miles) North of Sydney – the same spot he’d been casting his line for 50 years.
According to Selwood, he was sitting on a cooler – known generically in Australia by the popular brand name Esky – with two hand lines off the port and starboard sides of the boat, when the moving lines caught his attention.
Assuming he’d hooked a fish, Selwood said he “hopped up off the Esky, I touched the hand line and I just caught a blur coming in the corner of me eye and just out of instinct… I threw me right arm up and this thing hit me in the forearm and spun me around and knocked me off me feet.”
“This thing was beside me and I looked over and thought, ‘Oh, a bloody shark.’ So I just climbed, he was doing a mad dance around, he was thrashing everywhere” he added.
It’s unclear as to why the 2.7 meter (nine-foot) long great white shark threw itself over the motor and into the anchored boat, but in doing so the airborne shark struck Selwood with its pectoral fin, leaving the vulnerable fisherman with a swollen arm but luckily no fractures.
As the shark landed on the deck of the 4.5 meter (15-foot) power boat, it thrashed its body around the boat and forced Selwood up onto the top of the gunnel.
He used a hand-held radio to call the Evans Head coast guard and stayed on the gunnel until a rescue boat arrived.
Coast guard skipper Bill Bates was on-call but didn’t think the situation was as extreme as it was. “He said, ‘I’m injured, I’ve broken my arm, I’ve got lacerations and there’s a shark in my boat,’” Bates said.
“Often a fisherman will bring a small shark on board maybe two or three feet (up to one-metre) — and they’re still ferocious. That’s what I was expecting, but I was totally wrong,” he added.
The coast guard crew rescued Selwood, but left the 440 pound shark alone before retrieving the boat just before nightfall. Unfortunately, the crew expected that the shark was already dead at that point.
This event left fisherman Terry Selwood relatively uninjured but with an interesting story to tell others. He said he’ll have replace destroyed equipment, including buckets and coolers before venturing out there again.
“He didn’t do anything structural to me boat, it just smashed anything that was in his road. You can understand, he was a wild creature out of his comfort zone,” Selwood said.