UPDATE 4.40pm: A surf ski-paddler who was attacked by a 3m shark this morning said the impact was like an explosion and he believed he was going to die.
Mullaloo Surf Club member Martin Kane, was paddling with four others about 150m offshore at about 7:15am when the shark rammed the back of his ski and knocked him into the water.
Mr Kane said he was admiring a pod of dolphins before the shark struck with a noise he compared to a car crash.
The 62-year-old grandfather initially thought he had been hit by a jet ski and he heard a loud bang and crunching sound.
“Because it (the surf ski) is a sealed unit, when the shark bit it, it went off like an explosion,” he said.
“It really surprised me - I just didn’t know what it was.
“It didn’t strike me until I saw the fin that it was a shark.”
He has told how his thoughts quickly changed to being in the water, swimming for safety and thinking "this is the end".
Mr Kane said he saw a giant grey shape and a tail thrashing around and impulsively threw his paddle at the figure.
“I saw it swimming around me and I thought, time to get outta here,” he said.
“I threw my paddle at it and started swimming away... I thought I was gone, I’m dead.
"I thought there is no way I am going to make it to the beach with a shark that size after me.”
A fellow paddler then put his ski between Mr Kane and the shark, allowing him grab on to the back of the ski before the group paddled into safety.
Mr Kane commended the efforts of his fellow life-savers who came to his rescue.
“Next thing I know one of the guys came along and said, get on board matey, we’re going to the beach,” he said.
Mr Kane said his four accompanying surf ski paddlers then paddled him in together.
He said he suspected stringers that run down the length of the ski and control the rudders saved his life.
“I suspect that its teeth were caught up in that and it was too bothered trying to get rid of the ski to chase me, so I’m very very happy that was the case.
“I’m just very lucky to be here, very lucky to be able to see my grandkids again.”
Mr Kane believed the shark was 3m to 3.5m but did not know what type it was.
Surf Life Saving WA community safety manager Chris Peck said the paddlers were shaken but uninjured.
He said Mr Kane and his rescuer paddled back to shore at great speed.
Authorities commended the bravery of a fellow paddler who went to the marooned man’s rescue, paddling past the shark to pick him up.
"Who knows what might have happened if he had to have swum 150 metres (feet) into shore and not had someone there to help out," Mr Peck said.
WA Fisheries Shark Response Unit manager Michael Burgess said the shark was likely to have been a great white.
“It appears the shark was coming from behind and has taken a bite at the end of the ski,” he said.
“Certainly the force has thrown him out of the ski.
“There is documented evidence of great whites attacking small craft.”
A Fisheries boat has now found the damaged ski and will examine it to try to determine what sort of shark it was.
Mr Kane said he plans to return to the water and wants to continue paddling.
The Mullaloo Surf Club is considering hanging the remains of the surf ski, named the Interceptor, over the club's bar.
Fisheries advise a fisher has reported that a 5 metre white shark attacked a crab pot at Saxon Reef in Warnbro Sound around 8am.
"A big, big shark, he was talking around the five-metre mark, came up and had a big bite and tried to get whatever was inside," Mr Burgess said.
Fisheries officials were unable to locate the shark to tag.
Mr Burgess said the two attacks, more than 50km apart, were likely to have been by different sharks, adding there was “some type of shark activity occurring along the Perth coast” at present.
“Obviously the whales are on their migratory pattern at the moment . . . and there’s a lull between two storms,” Mr Burgess said.
“When we do have large sharks close to shore, it’s some kind of ecological event that’s drawing them there.”
WA ruled out a shark cull in April after a diver was killed by a Great White while looking for crayfish - the fourth fatal incident in seven months.
Experts say the average number of attacks in Australia - about 15 a year, with at least one being fatal - have increased in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.
with AAP, AFP
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