Irishman Shane De Roiste has been hailed a hero for the bravery he displayed after his friend was attacked by a great white shark off the Australian coast.
Best friends Shane De Roiste and Dale Carr were surfing 200m from shore when a great white latched on to Dale’s thigh and buttocks.
The father-of-two was mauled to within an inch of his life, but thanks to Wexford native Mr de Roiste, he lived to tell the tale.
Now, to thank him for his bravery, Mr Carr put his surfing buddy forward for a Pride of Australia nomination.
The Pride of Australia Medal is one of Australia’s most important community endeavours. It celebrates the remarkable contribution and achievements of individuals across the country.
Retelling the story of what happened that day last August, awards and nominations were far from his mind back then.
“When I first saw the fin, I thought it was a dolphin,” Shane told Independent.ie.
“Dale actually shouted shark straight away. I guess being from Wexford I didn’t comprehend what a shark can do so quickly.
“It was an intense and ferocious attack. It really is like you see in the Jaws movies; the person is just shaken around in the water.”
Dale screamed at Shane to get out of the water, but Shane said he couldn’t leave his friend.
“I just swam towards him to see what I could do. Dale had been punching the shark but it was like hitting a brick wall. He then cleverly jammed his thumb in the shark’s eye, and the shark swam away,” he said.
Miraculously, Dale’s body board remained in tact. Shane linked the two together and paddled them back to shore.
At this point, he was losing a lot of blood, but Shane’s quick-thinking kept Dale alive until the paramedics arrived.
He dragged his friend up the beach and alerted passers by to call an ambulance.
“I realised Dale had some shoe laces connected to the fins of his board, and I was just delighted because I had nothing to work with, we had nothing to put him back together while waiting on emergency services.
“I used the laces to hold his leg together and stop more blood pouring out until the paramedics arrived.”
Mr Carr lost 2.5 litres of blood that day and stopped breathing twice in hospital.
“We’re blessed as in that we have the best hospital in Australia, right up the road from where it happened. The surgeons are second to none.”
Surprisingly, the vicious attack hasn't deterred the two from getting back in the water.
“We went back surfing about six weeks after, he had to wear special things to go surfing because it was six months before it actually healed,” Mr de Roiste said.
Just last week, Shane received a phone call from his pal telling him to come down to the beach for a photo-shoot, but he was misled as to what it was for.
“When Dale rang me and said we had to go down to the beach and do a photoshoot, I didn’t have a clue what it was for. He told me it was for gay monthly magazine,” he laughed.
It was only when the photographs were published in Australia’s Daily Telegraph did Shane realise his surfing buddy had nominated him for the prestigious award.
When asked what it would mean for him to win it, Shane said the real award was having his best friend alive and well.
“It’s fantastic to be nominated, it really is, but ultimately all I care about is the fact Dale is still here. I remember looking at the shore after the attack and thinking, I have to make sure this man is going to see his kids and wife again.”