Mick Fanning, 34, three-times world champion was competing at an event in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape of South Africa on Sunday when a Shark attacked him from behind. He punched the creature before being rescued by Water Safety personnel.
Australian surfer was struck by the shark from behind and knocked into the water as he sat on his board waiting for his turn during finals of a world surfing competition.
After a splash he disappeared into the waters and was seen trying to swim to safety. After the incident, he sai in an interview:”I just saw fin, I didn’t see the teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought we’d lost him.” his mother Elizabeth Osborne told ABC News.
Ms Osborne had already lost a son to a car crash 17 years ago and she said those memories came back to her.
“When Sean was killed in the car accident, I didn’t see it,” Ms Osborne said. “I saw this just in front of me. It was just terrible.”
— #JBayOpen (@wsl) July 19, 2015
Fanning, the defending champion and a three-time world champion, escaped without any injuries.
The World Surf League (WSL), in an apologetic tone, said, “We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today. Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable — they are truly world class at what they do.”
The World Surf League, which should have taken precautions about avoiding sharks before slating the competition, did not, give any rationale how it happened. It merely said the “safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL”.
The remainder of the competition was cancelled at the J-BayOpen in South Africa.
Watch the whole incident here: