Surfer Chantelle Doyle survived a nearly fatal shark attack on Saturday, August 15 in New South Wales, Australia. She and her husband Mark Rapley were in the water near Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie at around 9:30 am local time when the incident took place. The shark, believed to be a juvenile great white shark, latched onto her leg. Reacting to his wife's distress, Rapley punched the shark until it let go. The woman was brought back to shore to receive medical attention. She had to undergo surgery but she survived the harrowing attack.
Rapley has been hailed as a hero for fighting off the reportedly two-meter long shark. However, recalling the incident, the humble man claims that he is not the one who should be praised as a hero.
Doyle was on her surfboard when she was knocked off of it. When he noticed the mother of their three-year-old child struggling in the water, Rapley reacted instinctively, he claims. He says that he did not have time to think during the attack. The shark was latched onto Doyle's right leg and was not letting go.
Targeting the shark's eyes, the brave man punched it in the face around eight times. He not only managed to get the shark off of his wife, but he also ensured that she got safely back on her board.
Alerted by the struggling surfer, other people in the water swam to assist the couple in trouble. Forming a group around the injured woman, other suffers helped her back onto the beach. Beachgoers helped to tourniquet the wound to prevent her from bleeding out. Emergency services arrived shortly after the attack.
The 35-year-old victim was taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital where the wounds to her calf and thigh were treated. She was then taken to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle where she underwent surgery and is currently in a stable condition.
According to the witnesses, Doyle managed to remain calm despite her serious injuries, the Daily Mail reported.
A spokesperson from the New South Wales Ambulance pointed out that in the past few months, this was the third serious attack involving a shark in the north coast. Authorities have requested beachgoers to be vigilant when entering the waters. There are precautionary measures like SMART drumlines and regular shark activity monitoring, yet shark encounters continue to be reported.