A solo snorkeler had a rough run-in with a shark off Western Australia Dec. 6.
Around 9 a.m., Peter O’Halloran, 57, was snorkeling about 437 yards (400m) off the Exmouth Marina when a shark grabbed hold of his left arm.
“I was halfway through a dive, going down, and I just felt something chewing on my arm,” he told The West Australian. “I saw some movement and by the time I looked at the wound to whatever it was, it was gone.”
Although the shark left the area, its teeth left deep lacerations that went all the way to O’Halloran’s elbow.
“It goes right through the meat,” he said. When he surfaced, he realized he was completely alone, and had no choice but to make a 30-minute swim back to shore, leaving a trail of blood behind him. .
“If it wanted to eat me, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
After he made it to shore, he walked the rocky 328 (300M) yard journey to his car so he could drive himself to the Exmouth Hospital
“I think they were a little surprised that I rocked up in there like that, with nobody else,” he said.
After initial examinations of the wound, doctors requested air transport to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth.
Doctors x-rayed his wound which showed O’Halloran was missing a bit of bone on the top of his arm.
The solo snorkeler was left with a 4-inch (10cm) wound on his arm. When asked if it the wound hurt he replied, “Nah, not a problem.”
Although O’Halloran has been swimming in the area for years, he realized this situation could have been much worse.
“I didn’t even let anyone know where I was, all they would’ve found was my car, and they would’ve had to search for the body you know,” he said.
He doesn’t blame the shark but does recommend that water users always let others know of their plans and not swim or snorkel alone.
Overall O’Halloran is in good spirits.
“It’s a pretty crazy story to tell your mates at the pub, though. I can’t wait to show them my scar,” he said.
The last shark attack near the area occurred around 84 miles to the south in Coral Bay.
A female snorkeler was bitten on the hand by a 5-foot (1.5m) bull shark Feb. 26, 2017.
There have been a total of 96 shark attacks publicly reported and verified in 2019. Seventeen of which were reported in Australia.