Surfer launched into air in shark attack – 25 September 2017 — North Point, Gracetown, West Australia

Catherine Visser
Catherine Visser

Catherine Vissers, 28, escaped injury when a Great White shark struck her surfboard from underneath launching her into the air.

The 3.5 metre shark left bite marks in her board.

The incident happened just before 6pm at the North Point surf spot, near Gracetown, southwest Australia on Monday 25 September 2017.

Surfer Tom Van Beem was the only other person in the water at the time. He’s quoted in the press as saying:

Tom Van Beem
Tom Van Beem

“I felt the water move underneath me and then all of a sudden the girl next to me was knocked off her board by this huge shark.

“She’s just sort of got knocked up and over and there was a big splash and then I saw the shark’s body follow with the pectoral fin and the tail.

“The shark came out of the water and landed in between us.

“I was only a few meters away.

“I’m a lifeguard, and I have some training for shark situations, so the first thing I did was ask if she was OK; I knew that if the shark had hit one of her major arteries, she would have only had a minute or so before she’d pass out from blood loss.

“Once she said she was OK, we paddled 50 meters straight to the rocks, floated over the barnacles, and scurried up as fast as possible.

“I just put my head down and paddled as fast as I could.

“I had this sinking feeling that it was going to hit me, but we’re very lucky that no one was injured and everyone’s fine, just a few minor dings on her board.

“It must have had its mouth open because there was three pretty big teeth marks in her board.

“She was pretty rattled, tearing up, just kind of in shock I guess. I think we all were.

“If it wanted to, it could’ve taken a big limb or something like that.

Catherine's surfboard with shark bite marks
Catherine’s surfboard with shark bite marks

Catherine, from Belgium, told Dutch newspaper Nieuwsblad: “Ik heb er niets van gezien. Ik dacht dat het een stomme dolfijn was. (I didn’t see anything. I thought it was a dumb dolphin.)

Her father was quoted as saying when he asked her if she would go back in the water she said: “Oh Dad, I’ve been attacked. The chance that a shark will hit me again, is minimal.”

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Youtube: Tom Van Beem decribes of the shark attack

 

 

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