Surfer Who Punched Shark To Save Wife Relives Terrifying Moment
Mark Rapley, the man who bravely punched a shark after it latched onto his wife Chantelle Doyle to save her life, has relived the terrifying moment, saying 'your body just reacts'.
Rapley and Doyle had been surfing at Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales mid-north coast on Saturday morning (15 August).
A great white shark suddenly wrapped its jaws around Doyle's right calf and the back of her thigh, prompting her husband to quickly spring into action by punching the beast eight times.
Recalling the ordeal to 7 News, Rapley explained how he noticed Doyle had been knocked off her board not long after they'd entered the water.
He said: "I knew she was going to be in trouble. I just started paddling over and you react."
Rapley continued: "When you see the mother of your child, your support and everything that's who you are - you just react, you just think 'get off that calf, get off'.
"You're not thinking 'punch', your body just reacts... You start punching, you start thinking where to punch, I'll attack the eye."
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He said Doyle - who witnesses said remained 'calm and relaxed' - was the one who showed the real strength in the situation, and that other surfers and beachgoers were the true heroes for helping.
He continued: "Two guys paddled behind me straight toward her, and that's not their wife.
"I don't like that [hero] title but I would love it bandied around with the collection of people who did an amazing job to keep her alive - and she's alive."
James Turnham from the Australian Lifeguard Service told 7 News: "Shortly after 9.30 this morning, emergency services were notified of a female that had been bitten by a shark down here at Shelly Beach.
"Shortly after the ambulance arrived and got straight into treatment of that girl and quickly got her to hospital where a helicopter was on its way as well.
"I believe the girl was surfing with a group of people, when the female was bitten it did take a bit of effort to get that shark off her. I hear that the boyfriend jumped off his surfboard and had to physically wrestle with the shark to get it away.
"His adrenaline would have kicked in for sure, when things like that happen right beside you. It would have been his natural reaction to get in there and do what he can to make sure she's safe."
Doyle was taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital with serious leg injuries, but has since been flown to Newcastle for surgery.
Featured Image Credit: 7 News