Great white shark jumps into elderly fisherman's boat

The veteran fisherman escaped with a badly bruised right arm after the 200kg fish landed in his 9-foot fishing boat

Great white shark jumps into elderly fisherman's boat

File photo: Great White Shark, False Bay, South Africa, 10-07-2017. Image: Vnoucek, F./DPA/PA Images

An elderly Australian fisherman caught more than he bargained for on Saturday after a nine-foot great white shark jumped into his boat, knocking him off his feet.

Terry Selwood was extremely lucky to survive with no more than a badly bruised and bleeding right arm after the 200kg animal landed on the deck of his 15-foot fishing boat.

The 73-year-old said he was sitting on a portable cooler waiting for a bite in the waters off Evans Head, 725km north of Sydney, when his unexpected visitor arrived.

"I didn't give it a chance to look me in the eyes,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC).

"This thing was beside me and I looked over and thought, 'Oh, a bloody shark.' So I just climbed, he was doing a mad dance around, he was thrashing everywhere.

“I wanted to get up and get on top of the gunnel [the upper edges of the boat’s sides] because it was thrashing around madly; Flash Gordon wouldn’t have caught me.”

He said he reacted instinctively when the animal appeared like a blur out of the blue adding, “I threw my right arm up and this thing hit me in the forearm and spun me around and knocked me off my feet."


Mr Selwood managed to contact the Evans Head coast guard and stayed perched on the gunnel until rescue arrived.

A crew was sent to rescue the fisherman before returning just before nightfall to tow the boat and shark into port.

What drove the fish to fling itself into the anchored boat remains unclear – Mr Selwood said the conditions on Saturday were smooth, with no surface fish or other clear reason for the shark to breach.

He said he thought it was a mako shark at first – but was later told by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) that it was a great white.

Great White Shark, Australia, Dangerous Reef, Neptune Island, 25-11-2009. Image:  Reinhard Dirscherl/DPA/PA Images


The DPI removed the shark from the boat with a forklift on its arrival back on land – and has now taken it away for autopsy to confirm its age and gender.

The veteran fisherman said the incident will do nothing to diminish his love of the open water – adding that he will have to replace some destroyed equipment before returning to the spot he has fished for more than 50 years.

"He didn't do anything structural to me boat,” he said. “It just smashed anything that was in his road.”

“You can understand; he was a wild creature out of his comfort zone."