Man Survives Shark Attack at Beach in Australia by Punching It

A 50-year-old surfer survived a shark attack at a beach in Australia by punching the shark repeatedly, he said from the hospital.

Paul Kenny was body surfing at Samurai Beach in New South Wales on Oct. 20 when he encountered the bull shark.

The shark clamped down on the surfer’s arm. Kenny said he punched the shark until it let go.

“I was coming in. So I went to move out a bit deeper to get a better wave and just put my head down and headbutted it and then it just grabbed me, and I just started punching it until it let go,” Kenny told Sky News.

“And then started getting back out of the surf as quick as I could holding my arm because there was blood everywhere and hoping it wouldn’t come back,” he said.

He said he was about 50 meters (164 feet) from shore, and hurriedly left the water.

“I didn’t know where it was and if it was going to take my legs,” he told AAP.

Kenny was rushed to the hospital, where he’s in stable condition and recovering.

Samurai Beach, which only reopened on Friday after officers removed a large whale carcass at neighboring One Mile Beach, was closed again after the attack.

The attack came about a month after two shark attacks took place in just 24 hours at Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. A 12-year-old girl was bitten on the leg and a 46-year-old woman was bitten on her upper left thigh.

After the attacks, four sharks were culled in the area using baited drumlines. “The intention is to remove large, dangerous sharks from the area and reduce the risk to people,” an official said.

Shark Attacks Increasing

The number of shark attacks has risen in recent years, an increase expected due to the world’s population growing and a growing interest in watersports, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).

“The number of human-shark interactions is directly correlated with time spent by humans in the sea. As the world population and interest in aquatic recreation continue to rise, we expect the incidence of shark attacks to increase, as well,” the organization, based at the Florida Musem of Natural History, stated in a recent report.

In total, the organization found that out of 155 attacks in 2017, 88 were unprovoked and 30 were provoked, with the others falling into other categories.

The United States experienced the most unprovoked attacks, 53, but had no deaths. Australia had 14 attacks and one death. The other four deaths happened on Réunion Island, Costa Rica, and Cuba.

Two Australian researchers who published a 2016 study on shark attacks said that factors in the increase, in addition to the population and watersport expansions, include habitat destruction and modification, changing water quality, and anomalous weather patterns.