Sunday 22 September 2019

Great white shark attack 'like everything in Jaws', says teenage kayaker

Sarah Williams was attacked by a great white shark off the coast of South Australia (Channel 9/AP)
Sarah Williams was attacked by a great white shark off the coast of South Australia (Channel 9/AP)

A 15-year-old Australian girl has described being thrown from a kayak by a great white shark as "everything you picture in the Jaws movie".

The 15ft shark struck from beneath the kayak, tossing Sarah Williams into the water off the coast near Normanville in South Australia.

"I saw it when I was in the water with it. I saw what it was and I saw its fin," she told Nine Network television.

She survived the ordeal with scratches and bruises.

Her father Chris Williams said he powered towards her in a 14ft motorboat as she clambered back on to the kayak.

The shark was between the boat and the kayak and was thrashing about, he said.

Mr Williams added that his son Mitch dragged his sister across the shark's back somewhere between its nose and dorsal fin to get her into the boat.

"I am having trouble coming to terms with how my son and I were able to get her off that kayak and over the shark and into the boat without her getting seriously hurt," he said.

"I have this vision all the time of this massive shark that was just thrashing in the water and ripping into this kayak which my daughter had been knocked off but was back on - I just don't know how we got her off," he said.

He said the boat was about 80ft from the kayak when the shark attacked. He estimated his daughter was rescued 30 seconds later, and doubted she would have survived another 10 seconds in the water.

"This thing came in and hit the kayak from underneath, catapulted my daughter and the kayak into the air and when I turned around ... all I could see was the shark had launched itself on top of the kayak and thrashing its tail around and it was all white water and no daughter.

"Then she popped up out of the water and climbed back on to the kayak and just screamed like you don't ever, ever want to hear."

State premier Jay Weatherill said the question of a shark cull in response to the attack was complex and the government would take advice from experts.


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