Horrifying moment surfer is attacked by great white shark on live TV
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A world champion surfer says he still has ‘flashbacks’ after being attacked by a shark on live TV.
Australian Mick Fanning, a three-time world champion, was competing at Jeffreys in South Africa back in July 2015 when a three-metre long shark, with the whole horrific incident being broadcast live. You can see footage of the attack here:
During the attack, Fanning was pulled clear underwater for nine seconds, fearing for his life.
Fortunately he was able to fend off the shark and get to safety.
He told 60 Minutes in 2018: “I felt like I was peaking at the right time, [my] body was feeling good and yeah I was really excited.”
But that excitement soon turned to abject terror when the huge shark approached Fanning from behind, completely blindsiding him.
He said: "The shark just came. My board was sideways and the shark just came like that. It was, like, right there. The main dorsal fin was right there, and I could see the side fin and I could see where it goes from grey to white.
“That was when I was, like, ‘oh yeah, this is… this is really, really bad.”
Fanning somehow managed to fight off the shark, by punching it, and get himself back to safety.
In an interview in 2020 he said he feels ‘extremely lucky’ that things turned out the way they did.
Speaking about the incident to 7NEWS, Fanning said: “As a surfer you have [sharks] in the back of your mind but you never think it’s going to happen to you.
“I consider myself extremely lucky.
“I still have flashbacks of coming up [for air] and I hear the splashes.”
Incredibly, Fanning’s brush with death didn’t put him off surfing and just one week after the attack he was already back at sea.
In the end, he came runner up in the competition he was taking part in at the time of the attack, which is pretty bloody impressive all things considered.
Fanning even agreed to come face-to-face with sharks for National Geographic documentary Save This Shark where he went cage diving.
He explained at the time: “I didn’t know how I’d react once I saw the shark … but I needed to heal myself and see if I’ve gotten over the nightmares I’ve had.
“The anxiety and nerves come back up and I personally didn’t know how it was going to go, but they’re such incredible creatures.
“It dawned on me how important sharks are, they rule the ocean for a reason. I’m so glad I’ve done it. It also answered a lot of questions.”