Surfer punches shark, escapes
A BARGARA mum watched in horror as a shark attack unfolded in the surf at Archie’s Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
Bronwyn Zelinski was walking along the sand with her son when she saw the water begin to bubble and froth around a surfer, only 20m out.
She said the man slid off his board and began punching the nearby ocean.
“I just thought; “Oh my god,” and screamed for Myles (her son) to come back because he was walking further ahead near the water,” she said.
“The surfer was bashing the water on the other side of the board and then it all went calm.”
Ms Zelinski said the man climbed on his surfboard and quickly paddled back in.
“He looked really shocked and just kept looking over himself to see if he had been bitten,” she said.
“His young son was on a board in the water not far away at the time. I’d hate to think what would have happened if it was him that got attacked.”
Ms Zelinski and her sons live by the beach and swim there most days.
“I have never seen anything like that,” she said.
“He was only about 20 metres out to sea so it was a real shock.”
The family returned to the beach yesterday afternoon, but Ms Zelinski was keeping a close eye on her boys.
“I think that man will think twice about surfing again,” she said.
Lifeguard Riley McGregor was on duty at nearby Kelly’s Beach during the attack.
“The man came over afterward to let us know what had happened,” Mr McGregor said.
“He said the shark came for him a few times.”
Mr McGregor said the man’s surfboard had been bitten.
“There was a break in the back of the board,” he said.
“The man said the shark was grey in colour but that doesn’t really narrow it down.”
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries manager of Queensland Shark Patrol Program Tony Ham said the main sharks caught in that area were tiger and whaler species such as bull sharks.
“Tiger sharks can be pretty aggressive,” he said.
“They have certainly been responsible for attacks on humans in the past.”
Mr Ham said the incident may have been a case of mistaken identity.
“The silhouette of someone on a surfboard is fairly similar to a turtle,” he said.
“They usually hang around this area for the turtles.”
He said about 70 sharks were caught off Bundaberg each year.
“It’s a fairly average number,” he said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said the attack was a timely reminder for swimmers to be aware of their surroundings.
“People need to avoid high risk situations like swimming at dusk and dawn, in creek and river mouths and near schools of bait fish,” he said.
“People always need to be on the lookout.”
Mr Holden said Bundaberg beaches had been closed about five times this summer due to shark sightings.
“Activity could be increasing but it’s hard to say right now.”