Teen kayaker says shark attack was like everything in 'Jaws'


Adelaide, Australia — A 15-year-year-old girl has told how she survived being tossed from a kayak by a great white shark off the Australian coast.

The 4.5m shark struck Sarah Williams' kayak from beneath on Sunday, 22 October, off the coast near Normanville in South Australia state.

She told Nine Network television that the attack was "everything you picture in the 'Jaws' movie."

"I saw it when I was in the water with it. I saw what it was and I saw its fin," she says. She survived the ordeal with scratches and bruises.

ALSO SEE: WATCH: Only in Australia ... shark jumps into fisherman's boat

Her father Chris Williams says he powered toward her in a 4.2m motor boat as she clambered back on to the kayak. The shark was between the boat and the kayak thrashing, he says.

Williams says his son Mitch dragged his sister across the shark's back somewhere between its nose and dorsal fin to get her into the boat.

"I am having trouble coming to terms with how my son and I were able to get her off that kayak and over the shark and into the boat without her getting seriously hurt," Williams says.

"I have this vision all the time of this massive shark that was just thrashing in the water and ripping into this kayak which my daughter had been knocked off but was back on — I just don't know how we got her off," he says.

SEE: WATCH: Michael Phelps raced a Great white for Shark Week and almost won!

Williams says the boat was about 25m from the kayak when the shark attacked. He estimated his daughter was rescued 30 seconds later, and doubted she would have survived for another 10 seconds in the water.

"This thing came in and hit the kayak from underneath, catapulted my daughter and the kayak into the air and when I turned around ... all I could see was the shark had launched itself on top of the kayak and thrashing its tail around and it was all white water and no daughter," Williams says.

"Then she popped up out of the water and climbed back on to the kayak and just screamed like you don't ever, ever want to hear," he adds.

State Premier Jay Weatherill says the question of a shark cull in response to the attack was complex and the government would take advice from experts on the issue.

Great white shark sightings in SA

To the delight of many locals and tourists, great white sharks have been spotted more frequently in Gansbaai recently. This after the sharks have been elusive following a number of attacks by orcas.

SEE: Orca killing spree: SA's iconic shark cage diving under threat

Kelly Baker, a biologist at Marine Dynamics, says that "after abnormally long periods of no White shark sightings due to the presence of a larger predator, the Orca", the shark cage diving company does not launch a trip now without reminding guests that they are dealing with something completely unpredictable - wildlife and nature.

"We are so grateful to see a White shark," she says, adding "We were absolutely ecstatic to see two White sharks this trip, with a new addition in the shape of a 4m male rocketing into sight as he made beautiful attempts on the decoy. We hope this is a good sign of things to come with our sightings." She says that copper sharks and short-tailed stingray were also spotted.

The summer season for shark net deployment will also be in place in False Bay.

What to read next on Traveller24:

WATCH: Rarely seen mega-mouth shark cruises past divers off Komodo

WATCH: Michael Phelps raced a Great white for Shark Week and almost won!

WATCH: Only in Australia ... shark jumps into fisherman's boat

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