Flipped by a shark: Kayaker’s terrifying encounter
A YOUNG angler has survived a terrifying encounter with a 4m bull shark after the animal torpedoed a fishing kayak and flipped the paddler into the water off the coast of Kurrimine Beach at the weekend.
Seventeen-year-old fisherman Jack Shinn from Innisfail launched his kayak near the Kurrimine Beach Caravan Park about noon on Saturday.
He managed to boat a few fish about 4km from the beach at King Reef when out of the blue an ominous shape appeared under the craft.
"I had just finished fishing for the day and I was coming back in and he came up out of nowhere," he said.
"He came straight at it, hit the bottom and I flipped.
"I quickly tried to flip the kayak back over and it was really hard to push up so I kind of had to just really give it a big push and I turned around and saw a big shadow.
"So I jumped back in and sat there for a bit and grabbed some of the gear that was floating in the water but I didn't really move after that.
"I was kind of shaken and didn't do much, and once I had calmed down a bit I started paddling for shore and I waved down couple of guys in a boat."
Kardean Clancy was boating in the area when he came across the kayaker in distress.
"I was going back to the mouth of the creek and I saw him waving his arms around," he said.
"He was freaked out. Being so young and being out there by yourself I would be too."
Shark expert with the Australian Marine Conservation Society Dr Leonardo Guida, after hearing of the lucky escape, said it was possible the kayak and paddler had been identified as a potential food source by the shark.
"If the gentleman was fishing it could be possible blood was trailing in the water and the shark may have picked up on that," he said.
"Sharks are naturally curious and interactions don't always end up in a bite."
Dr Guida said any encounter was always unsettling.
"Understandably it is quite a jarring experience, I hope the bloke is OK and I wish him well," he said.
Mr Shinn could certainly attest to the encounter being "jarring".
"I was shaking. I was panicking because I knew that sharks can feel vibrations and if I made too much noise he could have fully attacked me," he said.
Often bull shark activity increased around river mouths after rain and the species were renowned for being a dangerous shark capable of inflicting serious wounds, AMCS shark biologist Dr Guida said.
Not many people exit the water with all appendages intact after an up close encounter with a fully grown bull shark.
"I do consider myself lucky," Mr Shinn said.
Originally published as Flipped by a shark: Kayaker's terrifying encounter