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Surfer Bitten in Half...


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Surfer bitten in half

By Richard Shears, Daily Mail, in Sydney


A surfer was bitten in half after losing a desperate fight for his life with two Great White sharks.



Brad Smith, 29, was surfing off the Western Australian coast when a huge shark 'as wide as a car' lunged out of the water and snapped his board in half.


Mr Smith's friends could only watch in horror as he fell into the sea and another of the enormous creatures moved in on him. Experts said it was almost as if they had ambushed him.


The surfer lashed out with his fists to try to keep the sharks at bay as they came at him repeatedly. But after just 45 seconds he disappeared beneath the surface - and the water turned red.


When his body floated back up, his friends risked their own lives to go out and drag it back to shore.


Yesterday they were too upset to describe his injuries, but another surfer at Left Handers Beach near the resort of Gracetown said he had been warned: 'Don't go in there, someone's been bitten in half by a shark.'


Another surfer Cameron Rowe, 17, said: 'There was nothing we could do to help him. At first I saw one shark and thought it was one of the usual ones you see swimming-around, reef sharks, which don't cause you any trouble.


'But these things were massive. When the first one came up a bit I could see its fin and it was almost a yard high.


'When it came out of the water with Brad still fighting it, I could see its body was about the width of a car and its open jaws were as wide as a man's arm.


'What happened then just ended up in a terrible feeding frenzy. It was awful.'


One of Mr Smith's friends, Mitch Campbell, said: 'It was the worst thing I have seen. There was so much confusion out there it was impossible to tell which shark was attacking, but they kept coming at him time and time again.


'You could see Brad trying to whack at them to keep them away.


'We were shouting out, "Swim for your life, mate! Swim for your life!" But he obviously didn't have a chance. They were massive.


'He put up such a brave fight. He was punching away and there was water and blood everywhere.'


Police have collected Mr Smith's surfboard, snapped in half by the razor-sharp teeth of one of the sharks. Throughout yesterday-marksmen in a flotilla of boats, aided by police in a helicopter, searched for the killers, to no avail.


The failure to locate the maneaters has sent fear along the West Australian coast.


'If we find them, we have the authority to kill them,' said fisheries officer Tony Cappelluti. Great Whites are a protected species - unless one kills a human.


'If they've tasted human blood, then they'll remain a problem until we've tracked them down,' he added.


Shark expert Sasha Thompson, from the Aquarium of Western Australia, said witness reports suggested the sharks were Great Whites, the most feared of all marine creatures and the species featured in the film Jaws.


'Judging by the size, the area they were swimming in and the power of the jaws, I'd say they were Great Whites,' she said.


She said it was impossible to know what triggered the attack, but added: 'It is whale migration season and that might have something to do with it.'


Great Whites are known to spend time on Western Australia's southern coast in winter before moving north to hunt whales returning to southern waters.


Another marine expert, Mike Roennfeldt, said he was surprised at the nature of the ambush-style attack.


'Generally sharks are solo hunters,' he said. 'It's unusual - unheard of, in fact - for one Great White to knock a guy off his surfboard and then for another to attack, which seems to have happened here.'


It was the second fatal attack in West Australian waters in less than four years.


In November 2000, 49-year-old swimmer Ken Crew died from massive bleeding after one of his legs was bitten off in shallow water just north of Perth's popular Cottesloe Beach.


Anybody scared to go into the ocean?

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