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Shark Attack Survivor Wins Right To Keep Tooth Lodged In His Surfboard

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Shark Attack Survivor Wins Right To Keep Tooth Lodged In His Surfboard

A man who lost his leg to a shark attack while surfing has won the right to keep a tooth from the shark that became lodged in his surfboard during the attack.

Chris Blowes, 32, was almost killed during the attack, which took place in South Australia in 2015, and was left in a coma for 10 days, as well as needing his leg amputated.

Now, he wouldn't ordinarily be allowed to keep hold of the tooth from his board, because it's an item from a protected species, but in this case the state have granted him an exemption.

He plans to keep the tooth as a 'souvenir' of the fateful day that his life changed forever.

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Blowes was out surfing at Fishery Bay in April 2015 when a large - around 5.5 metres, to be precise - great white shark slammed into him from behind.

Credit: Facebook/Chris Blowes
Credit: Facebook/Chris Blowes

Speaking to BBC News, he explained: "It shook me about and played with me for a bit.

"And it ended up pulling my leg off."

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He eventually made it to shore thanks to two friends, where he received treatment from paramedics and was rushed off to hospital in Adelaide.

Obviously, he was losing a lot of blood and his life was in serious danger.

He continued: "My heart had completely stopped and they had to administer CPR until I showed any signs of life."

The police went along to pick up his surfboard and found one of the shark's teeth embedded into it. However, under South Australian law, it had to be handed over to the correct authorities.

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Chris Blowes in hospital following the shark attack. Credit: www.chrisblowes.com.au
Chris Blowes in hospital following the shark attack. Credit: www.chrisblowes.com.au

Mr Blowes says he was unable to see the tooth from then on.

Because of the Fisheries Management Act, it's illegal to possess, sell, or purchase any part of a white shark because of their protected status, and anyone found to have broken that law can face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to AU $100,000 (£55,000).

Despite that, Mr Blowes kept asking if he could have the tooth, but was refused until a local politician stepped in and fought for the exemption.

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Blowes added: "It was stuck in my board,

"I would never kill a shark for its tooth but it took my leg [so] I can't see any reason why I can't have that.

"The shark isn't getting its tooth back [and] I'm not getting my leg back."

Credit: Facebook/Chris Blowes
Credit: Facebook/Chris Blowes
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This is the first time such an exemption has been granted.

David Basham, the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development in South Australia, said it was the least they could do, given the circumstances.

He told ABC: "Chris has obviously been through a hugely traumatic experience and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help."

Blowes, who has since taught himself to surf again with a prosthetic leg, keeps the tooth in a case at his home and takes it out to show off at motivational talks he gives about the attack.

He concluded: "It's a good souvenir to show my grandchildren."

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Chris Blowes

Topics: Sharks, Surfing, Weird, Animals, Australia

Tom Wood
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