Michael Bedford (age not reported) suffered deep gashes to his right leg after being bitten by what is presumed to be Great White shark while surfing 150 metres offshore at remote Conspicuous Beach, near Walpole, Western Australia. The incident happened around noon on Sunday 6 June 2010.
Various media reports say the shark knocked him off his board. It is not clear when the shark bit him – either in the initial attack when it knocked him off his board or when it returned. Bedford apparently hit the shark which let go. He climbed back on his board and caught a wave on his belly to the beach. A friend and a group of fishermen on the beach carried him on his board up some cliffs to a car park and used his board leash as a tourniquet while they waited about half an hour for an ambulance. He was taken to Albany Regional Hospital about an hour’s drive away. He had surgery and was reported in a stable condition the following day.
Quotes from the reports:
Bedford’s friend Lee Cummuskey told The West Australian that he watched the attack from the beach.
“We had both been out surfing, I had only just come in, I had broken my leg rope and had to swim in..
“I just sort of got to the beach and was only on the beach for a minute and I was keeping my eye on Mick, because he was a long way out and on his own.
“And bang I saw the hit, I didn’t really see the fish … I could just see this explosion of water and I knew straight away what had happened.”
He said Bedford spotted the shark when it was 20m away and racing “straight for him”.
“He thought it was just going to go under him, but it suddenly came up and hit him … and I think that is when it bit him.
“It hit him once and then came back a second time. He thought it was a white pointer, he is not totally sure, but he said it had a bloody big head on it,” Cummuskey added.
Cummuskey told ABC Radio: “He gave it a good whack he reckons, a good punch and that doesn’t surprise me knowing Mick.
Bedford managed to get back on his board and catch a wave on his belly to the beach.
“As soon as he hit the beach he rolled off the board into the white water. It was pretty ugly,” Cummuskey said.
“It is your worst nightmare and Mick’s been through it and survived so he’s just really lucky.”
“He was so lucky in so many ways . . . there were actually quite a lot of people down there, normally we would be the only ones.
“Mick is a big guy, he is close to 100kg, there is no way I could have got him up, we are talking 300m to 400m to the car park up the stairs.”
According to the Herald Sun, many local fishermen talk of the monstrous great whites in the area – nicknaming them ‘Noahs’ – that swamp even professional deep-sea trawlers in size.