A Queensland father who was encircled by a group of sharks while swimming in remote waters off the north Kimberley coast has described the experience as one of the most unsettling of his life.
Arthur Bullen, a 40-year-old marine engineer, today recalled his frightening encounter with “at least” 10 sharks and a crocodile as he worked to fix a client’s stricken boat near Kuri Bay, north of Broome.
In extraordinary footage of the incident, which happened in late June, Mr Bullen can be seen swimming at the surface as several different species of sharks approach him.
Mr Bullen, of Brisbane, said the incident looked relatively benign on camera but the reality of what happened was far more disturbing, culminating in the moment when he was rammed by a big reef shark.
“I was more than scared,” he said.
“But you’ve just got to find a medium.
“The main thing that happened is I just wanted to stay calm.
“I didn’t want to go thrashing around the water.
“It all started going pear shaped when that big one came in underneath me and hit me and I didn’t even see it coming.
“I just wanted to get out of the water but every time I tried to get back to the boat I had to turn back around.”
Mr Bullen said he eventually made it back on the boat with only a couple of bruises around his abdomen to show for the encounter.
He said he was relieved after the encounter given the predominance of deadly tiger sharks in the area.
“When I got on to the boat I had a moment to myself and I actually abused the boys that were there,” he said.
“I actually employed the guy that filmed it to do the trip and to watch our backs.”
Despite his ordeal, Mr Bullen said he was ardently opposed to calls from some quarters in WA for great white sharks to be culled following a spate of fatal attacks involving the creatures.
The married father of two young children said the sharks he encountered seemed inquisitive rather than sinister and he respected the ocean as their domain.
“I’m totally against that (culling sharks),” he said.
“The sharks are in their natural environment and we’re the visitors.
“You just can’t go killing things because they’re doing those things.