In a case of mistaken identity, a spearfisherman who was being bitten by a shark managed to catch the encounter on video.
Anton Oleinik was spearing off Omaha’s Ti Point, north of Aukland, when he shot a kingfish Dec. 9.
As the 50-year-old Russian-born man pulled the kingfish he’d just speared, an 8-foot (2.5m) bronze whaler shark arrived.
“The rope wrapped around me. I was trying to untangle it when I popped my head above the water to take a breath,” Oleinik told the Herald.
“All of a sudden I felt a squeeze on my knee. I thought it must have been a strong kingfish, but when I put my head down . . . there was a big shark with his jaws around my leg.
“I pushed him off, left my gear and swam back to the rocks about 10m away. I didn’t realize the camera was still rolling.”
The solo diver waited on the rocks as he caught his breath for around 10 minutes before swimming back out to recover his gear.
“When I pulled my gear out the spear was missing so he must have taken the fish with the spear. Luckily, he was likely interested in the fish and not me,” he said.
While the shark had taken a hold of his knee, the teeth did not penetrate the three thick layers of neoprene which left Oleinik unscathed. Not only was he lucky the shark did not injure him, but the shark did not pull him under the water as he was trying to catch his breath.
“It was a really close call. If he had pulled me down even a little bit it would have ended really badly.”
Once he made it back home, he reviewed his GoPro footage and realized that he had left the camera on before he was bitten.
Although he was shaken by the event, he returned to the area and hit the water again.
While he will continue to fish, he does have some advice for other ocean users:
“Don’t dive alone. It would have helped with being aware of what was around us. It was a really close call. It could have gone horribly wrong,” Oleinik said.
There have been four shark attacks reported on the North Island this year.
This most serious and unusual encounter occurred Oct. 19 at Baylys Beach, Near Dargaville.
Surfer Andrew Brough was enjoying the waves around 6 p.m. when he heard a splash and a great white shark grabbed his arm.
The estimated 10- to 11-foot (3.2 to 3.5m) shark grabbed his left arm and hand in its massive jaws.
Brough was able to paddle back to shore with the help of his friend and a Good Samaritan gave him a ride in the back of a pickup truck.
He was flown to Whangarei where he received stitches in his hand and arm.
Thankfully, the shark also had grabbed part of the surfboard which prevented its bottom jaw from making contact with the surfer’s arm.
Brough has no qualms about getting in the water again.
“People get seriously hurt in car crashes and as soon as they are discharged from the hospital someone drives them home. It’s no different to that,” he told Tracking Sharks.
There have been a total of 101 shark attack bites (74 with injury, 24 of which are considered provoked*) publicly reported and verified in 2018. Five fatal**; 33 were reported in the U.S (including one fatal), with 13 occurring in Florida and 3 in Hawaii. Twenty-seven have been reported in Australia, one fatal. Eight unconfirmed bites, worldwide, not included in the total count.
All locations have been marked on the 2018 Shark Attack Map.
*Provoked defined as spearfishing, feeding sharks, fishing, etc. (listed with green marker).
**Three possible scavenge