Spearfisherman had to fight for life after being mauled by tiger shark
Fisherman’s remarkable tale of survival after he was mauled by a shark before using his speargun to stab the predator and swim to safety
- Brett Highlands mauled by a three-metre tiger shark in Western Australia Friday
- He had suffered bites to his arm and hand but swam back to his friend on a boat
- Mr Highlands said feeling was ‘like a dog trying to get grip of a bone’ in interview
The spearfisherman who was mauled by a three-metre tiger shark described the attack as ‘a dog trying to get grip a bone’ while the predator ripped at his arm.
Brett Highlands, 48, was about 500m off Quandong Beach, north of Broome in north-western Western Australia, when he was bitten on his arm and hand on Friday.
In an interview with Seven Mr Highlands said the feeling of the ‘chomping effect’ of the shark’s jaws on his limb will stay with him forever.
‘Just a wild animal attached to my arm,’ he said.
Brett Highlands (pictured) had been swimming about 500m off Quandong Beach, north of Broome in north-western Western Australia, when he was bitten on his arm and hand on Friday
Mr Highlands (pictured with a friend) was attacked shortly after 11am on Friday while diving with friends to celebrate his birthday
Mr Highlands was attacked shortly after 11am on Friday while diving with friends to celebrate his birthday.
He swam back to the boat where his horrified friends pulled him on board and wrapped a tourniquet around his arm.
Footage then showed Mr Highlands walking onto the shore at Cable Beach with the support of his mates before paramedics rushed him off to hospital – all in front of shocked beachgoers.
The 48-year-old was flown to a Perth hospital on Friday night in a stable condition.
Authorities from the Department of Fisheries were patrolling the area after the attack and believe the species was a tiger shark.
Newlyweds Halley and Jacob Zurzulo saw the man being escorted back to shore in what they thought was an arrest.
‘It took us ages to figure out what was happening. It literally looked like someone was being arrested,’ Ms Zurzulo said on Facebook.
Mr Highlands is seen being escorted to shore after the shark attack near Broome in WA on Friday
A police car sped across the sand in front of the Zurzolos, who were married six days earlier and were about to go for a swim before the scene unfolded in front of them.
Mr Highlands’ friends are understood to have called St John’s Ambulance from their boat and met them at Cable Beach half an hour after he was bitten.
‘He got brought down to Cable Beach from ages away by boat, and there was cops and detectives and rangers and paramedics,’ Mrs Zurzolo said.
A witness told 6PR the victim seemed ‘pretty chill’ despite the near death experience.
‘There was probably every cop in Broome just racing down the beach with the lifeguards,’ he said.
Mr Highlands was rushed to the nearby Cable Beach (pictured) on Friday morning to be taken by paramedics to hospital. He remains in a stable condition
The attack comes after a string of shark encounters across Australia in recent months.
Charles Cernobori, 59, was killed by a shark at Cable Beach last year while bodyboarding about 30metres from shore.
A surfer in his 50s was fatally mauled by a 4.5m great white shark off Tuncurry Beach on the NSW mid-north coast on Tuesday morning.
He was desperately warning friends of the danger when he was attacked. It was the first death by a shark in Australian waters this year.
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