Saturday, January 20, 2007

Shark tale told by shark attack victim

One of the worlds' most chilling tales of survival was told by the very man who escaped the jaws of a great white shark. The attack happened in 1963 but Rodney Fox still draws big crowds to hear his story, like the one at the Tennessee Aquarium Friday evening. 44-years ago Rodney Fox was taking part in a south Australian spear fishing championship.

As he was about to spear more fish the blood stained waters attracted a very unwanted guest. "I was just about to pull the trigger when I felt this huge thud, crash, and hit me into my chest. It actually knocked the gun out of my hand, the mask off of my face and I was hurled through the water faster than I could swim," Fox said. The crowd that packed Tennessee Aquarium auditorium came for a lecture series on sharks.

That day in 1963 left Fox 40-feet underwater, in a state of panic, trying to gouge the great whites' eyes. "Instinctively I pushed the shark away, but my hand went right into it's mouth over it's teeth, ripping. Before it chewed my arm off I quickly dragged it out, but I dragged it high and that actually cut every tendon, except for [the index] finger, in my hand and it was a real mess," Fox explained. Part of the sharks' tooth remains in Foxs' wrist.

During the presentation Fox played several short films, some with old news footage showing him in a hospital bed during an interview two days after the attack. During his struggle with the shark it became more interested in Foxs' bait, and he surfaced in time to get a breath of air. A boat happened to be nearby and the people aboard brought him to safety and a hospital. His wounds were horrific: crushed ribs, deep punctures and tears to his side that exposed internal organs. Through the years Fox kept his interest in sharks, and continues to tell one of the worlds' most fascinating survival stories of all time.

Fox recalled that "last year, a chap came into our shark museum in Los Angeles where we have a small business there, and he walked up to me and he said 'you won't know me, but I was the orderly that opened the door of the ambulance." Fox became an expedition leader and reknown underwater photographer of sharks, who's work you've seen in the movie "Jaws" and "Blue Water White Death." His work has also been featured in National Geographic films. For more information, go to


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