A fisherman made a bigger catch than he hoped for when a 9ft great white shark leapt into his boat and knocked him off his feet.
Terry Selwood, 73, was left badly bruised and bleeding after the airborne sea beast landed on him as it fell onto the deck of his power boat off the coast of New South Wales, Australia.
He was forced to dodge the thrashing shark and cling to the side of his 15ft vessel as he desperately called the coastguard for help on Saturday.
Mr Selwood told ABC: “I caught a blur of something coming over the boat… and the pectoral fin of the shark hit me on the forearm and knocked me down on the ground to my hands and knees.
“He came right over the top of the motor and then dropped onto the floor. He was 2.7 metres long and about 200 kilos.
“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.
“I didn’t give it a chance to look me in the eyes. I wanted to get up and get on top of the gunnel because it was thrashing around madly.”
The fisherman used a handheld radio to call coastguards in Evans Head and stayed on the gunnel until a rescue boat arrived.
Coastguard skipper Bill Bates said he assumed Mr Selwood’s involved a rather smaller fish.
“He said, ‘I’m injured, I’ve broken my arm, I’ve got lacerations and there’s a shark in my boat,” Mr Bates said.
“Often a fisherman will bring a small shark on board – maybe 2ft or 3ft – and they’re still ferocious. That’s what I was expecting, but I was totally wrong,” he added.
The crew rescued Mr Selwood but left the shark alone.
“The shark was thrashing inside the boat, taking up the entire deck area – there was no way you’d put a foot in there,” Mr Bates said.
They took Mr Selwood to paramedics at Evans Head, where his badly swollen arm was cleared of any fracture.
Coastguards later towed his boat, still containing the shark, into Evans Head just before nightfall.
“We think it was already dead at that stage, but no one was game to put their finger in to find out,” Mr Bates said.
Why the shark flung itself into the anchored boat is a mystery.
Mr Selwood said he was sitting on a cooler with two hand lines off the port and starboard sides of the boat when he saw one of the lines move as if a fish was hooked.
He added: “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.”
Mr Selwood plans to return to the fishing spot he has visited for more than 50 years after replacing equipment, including buckets and coolers, destroyed by the shark.
The fisherman said: “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.”
The shark’s body was passed to marine scientists and will be used for research.