On Tuesday morning (4 January), a 42-year-old woman decided to have an early morning swim in the Hyams Beach, New South Wales. She knew very well that swimmers are discouraged from venturing out into the ocean during dusk and dawn, since that is when sharks come near the shore to feed. But she chose to take a dip in the cool waters anyway.
Daily Mail reported that after 20 minutes of swimming around 30 meters away from the ocean, a 2-metre-long bronze whaler latched onto her leg and punctured her right thigh. She said that at that moment she remembered what surfing champion, Mick Fanning, did when he came face to face with a shark in 2015 and decided to give his technique a try. She told The Daily Telegraph:
A Mick Fanning-inspired punch got rid of the shark but I certainly did not swim to shore with any grace.
That’s right.One punch was enough to get the shark’s grip off of her leg.
Although many would praise her for her bravery, the woman admitted that the incident was more a sign of 'her stupidity' as she knowingly ‘broke the rules of shark safety’. Luckily, she did manage to get out of the incident with minimal harm and after a quick visit to the hospital, she was back in the waters the very same afternoon. She added:
I was back in the water that same afternoon with my boys admittedly staying a little closer to shore than my morning laps.
Safety rules in shark-infested waters
Bronze whaler sharks, amongst others, are not usually aggressive creatures and have only been responsible for one human death in Australia so far.
After the incident took place, Shoalhaven City Council issued an urgent update for their local swimmers asking them to ‘to seek out patrolled beaches, and to not swim at dusk and dawn when sharks are feeding.’ They also suggested people to always have a swimming buddy when out in the ocean, use a Personal Deterrent Device to reduce the risk of attack, and avoid swimming in murky waters, river mouths, sandbars, and steep drop-offs.