Seven-gill shark
Seven-gill sharks are known to attack humans on New Zealand's Southland and Otago coastsWikimedia Commons

A New Zealand doctor stitched his own leg after being bitten by a shark at Garden Bay, near Cosy Nook.

James Grant, a junior doctor, had just entered the water when he realised a shark had bitten him. He fought the seven-gill shark off with a divers knife, as he tried to get it to release his leg from its jaws.

Seven-gill sharks can grow up to 3 metres long and the species is known to attack humans on New Zealand's Southland and Otago coasts.

He told "It was pretty well latched on, I was just trying to get it off."

"I sort of just fought the shark off. The shark got a few stabs. The knife wasn't long enough though."

When the shark finally let him go, he shouted for his friends who were spearfishing nearby. When they came over, Mr Grant was sewing the cuts on his leg.

They continued fishing while he stitched, using a needle and thread from his first-aid kit. There were holes in his wetsuit from where the shark's teeth had penetrated it.

Mr Grant added: "I'm pretty happy I had such a thick wet suit on too."

"It would have been great if I had killed it because there was a fishing competition on at the Colac Bay Tavern.

He was, however, grateful to survive the attack, adding: "I am pretty grateful to have my leg still."

Afterwards, his friends took his to a local pub in Colac Bay where he had a beer and was given bandages to stop blood from dripping onto the carpet, before heading to the hospital.

New Zealand has a relatively high humber of shark attacks. The Oamaru and Otago Penninsula are particularly popular with sharks because of the high numbers of dolphins, seals and pilot whales.

However, the chances of being killed by a shark in New Zealand remains slim. According to, there have been one fatal attack every 13 years since 1852. There have been approximately 49 recorded unprovoked shark attacks between 1580 and 2013 with around 10 or 11 fatalities. During that time in the US, there were around 1022, with 36 fatalities.