English Channel swimmer ‘lucky to be alive’ after shark attack on Australia’s Manly Beach
A swimmer has been attacked by a shark near one of Australia’s most popular tourist beaches in Sydney.
Paramedics say Peter Schultz is “extremely lucky” to be alive after being mauled during an early morning swim off the coast at Manly.
He suffered a deep gash to his leg, while witnesses said he also received a puncture wound to his torso and cuts to his back and stomach.
Mr Shultz, who in his 50s and reportedly swam the English Channel last year, was in the water before sunrise with friends from the Bold and Beautiful swimming club.
“We were about three quarters of the way to Shelly Beach when our group stopped and said someone was calling out," fellow swimmer Danny Lucas told ABC radio. “We couldn’t really see anything. But then we realised our friend had managed to actually swim to shore and was yelling for us to get out because he had been bitten by a shark.”
“We swam a bit more briskly than we normally would,” he added.
Marine biologists are working to determine what type of shark was involved, and its size. New South Wales (NSW) police said no shark had been spotted in the area.
“He was in relatively good spirits considering he had just been attacked while he was swimming,” said NSW Ambulance acting inspector Andrew Wood. “The injuries were not that severe. He is extremely lucky, this could have been a lot more serious than it was.”
In 2017, a juvenile great white washed on Manly Beach before staff from a nearby aquarium temporarily moved it on the back of a pick-up truck to a small coastal swimming pool. It was later transferred to a marine sanctuary.
Shark attacks in Australia are rare. Beachgoers are far more likely to either drown, or be killed on the road driving to the coast than they are in the jaws of a Great White, Tiger or Bull shark, the three main man-eating species in Australian waters.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File, which is compiled by Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, injuries to seven swimmers and surfers have been reported around the country so far this year. In 2018, there was one fatality and 20 injuries.
Half of Australia’s population lives within 5 miles of the coast, and the ocean is a place of recreation but also of deep-seated trepidation of what might lurk beneath the waves.
“Our fear of sharks is part psychology, part Hollywood,” said The Nature Conservancy Australia on its website, which added that the risk of a fatal attack is the same as being "killed by a kangaroo – even though kangaroos don’t evoke the same fear in us. The danger is there, but it’s miniscule."