‘It sucked the meat off my bone’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 15 Februari 2015 | 23.08

Shark victim Sean Pollard's family on the long road ahead

Sean Pollard, girlfriend Claire Oakford, has recounted his shark attack for an interview with 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

"IT HAD ripped my forearm off and sucked the meat off my bone, like a chicken bone pretty much."

This was the terrifying moment Sean Pollard realised he was in serious trouble. The kind of trouble where the outcome would determine one of two things: life or death.

At 11am on October 2 last year, the 23-year-old was surfing at a remote spot at Kelps Bed Beach at Wylie Bay in Esperance, a town on the Southern Ocean coastline of Western Australia, when he was attacked by not one, but two Great White sharks.

It is the first reported attack of its kind — anywhere in the world.

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Sean Pollard arrives at Royal Perth Hospital after the attack. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: News Corp Australia

Pictured is one of the two Great White sharks caught using drum lines in Esperance after the attack on surfer Sean Pollard. The sharks were kept at an undisclosed location in Esperance before being moved to Perth. Picture: Marni Topping Source: Supplied

The former footballer was initially bit on both of his legs during the first shark attack, fought it off with his surfboard during a second charge, and lost both hands and his left arm on the final attack, when the shark "went in for the kill".

Sharing his story on 60 Minutes last night, Pollard recounted the terrifying encounter in gripping detail, describing the sharks' method of attack and how he managed to escape from its steely grip.

"The shark came underneath me. I was trying to paddle calmly so I wasn't splashing around like I was panicking, but once it got directly behind me it charged through the water. Like that's when it really went in for the kill.

"I spun around to try and face it. It just moved so quick. That's when it come up out of the water, I didn't even see its teeth.

"It took me. And its eye was right there in front of me. Its eye was the blackest black I'd ever seen, and that's just a vision that's, like, burnt into my mind.

"I can't get it out, just this cover going over its eye as it bit down on me.

"It started shaking its head. Both my arms were in its mouth and it just took me underwater. I remember having to hold my breath and it just shook its head, like seven or eight times.

"It's just the hardest thing I've ever felt. It was so strong ... and then next thing I popped up and there was just blood everywhere."

Family members of Sean Pollard arrive at Royal Perth Hospital after the attack. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: News Corp Australia

Before the attack: Sean Pollard on a holiday to Indonesia. Source: Facebook

Before the attack: Sean Pollard messes around on a much safer wave. Source: Facebook

As Mr Pollard lay helplessly in a pool of spreading-blood, a second shark caught wind and joined in the attack.

By a stroke of luck he tore himself free from the shark's almighty grip.

Kicking for his life, Mr Pollard miraculously caught a wave to the shoreline, backwards and upside down, and was rescued by a group of strangers (Kylie, Peter, Ross and Dean) as his girlfriend watched on in horror. It was these four people that would save his life.

"I saw this massive pool of blood in the water. For him to get in [to shore] with those injuries is unbelievable," they told reporter Michael Usher.

"He was laying there with his eyes closed, I don't think he had much blood left in him to be honest. I could see he only had half an arm. He was in a bad way."

Pollard, pictured with girlfriend Claire Oakford, who witnessed the attack. Source: Supplied

"I find myself grieving for my old life every now and then," says Pollard. Source: Supplied

Esperance Primary School deputy principal and rescuer Ross Tamlin. Picture: Mick Sonnerman Source: Supplied

Shark attacks in Australia are becoming increasingly common.

Just last week, a global study by the University of Florida found Australia topped the list of fatal shark attacks in 2014, with two deaths and 11 unprovoked attacks.

There were four attacks in South Australia, three in New South Wales, two in Western Australia and one in Queensland and Victoria.

While it was a lower figure than its 12.5 yearly-average attack rate, according to George Burgess, curator of world shark attack data at the University of Florida, the rate is rising.

"I am willing to predict that there will be more attacks in the second decade of this century than there were in the first," Mr Burgess told SBS.

Sean Pollard with reporter Michael Usher for 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

Now: Sean Pollard. Source: Supplied

For rescuer and Esperance resident Ross Tamlin and the regulars at Western Australia's beaches, "vigilance is now the key for enjoying the breaks they love to surf," reporter Michael Usher said after a shark sighting at the same beach during filming of the interview.

"There's a lot more uneasiness, all the time we come out here now, after seeing what Sean went through, you get the feeling it could happen anywhere at anytime.

"It's certainly changed things," Mr Tamlin said.

Just hours after the attack, two great white sharks were caught by drum lines and while the Department of Fisheries has not been able to confirm their involvement in the attack, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said "all the evidence ... point to the probability the two white sharks caught just hours after the attack were involved."

"I find myself grieving for my old life every now and then and what everything I aspired to be before, it's all kind of changed now," Mr Pollard said.

"It's pretty hard some days. Some mornings you just don't want to get out of bed and face it, but then again some days when you're doing something nice I think, you know, it's pretty good that I'm still here to be able to enjoy this."

Do you have a shark attack story to share? Email youngma@news.com.au


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