Teenager fought 5 meters Great White shark
Syb Mundy, who saved his teenage cousin Hannah Mighall from the jaws of a shark, has shrugged off the tag of "hero".Mr Mundy, 33, said Hannah, 13, was the one who deserved accolades for her bravery.
Mr Mundy was surfing with Hannah at Binalong Bay, near St Helens, in Tasmania's north-east, yesterday afternoon when a five-metre great white latched onto her leg.The shark dragged her under the water twice before her cousin reached her on his surfboard and hit it on the head.
Mr Mundy was still in a state of disbelief when he spoke at the St Helens District Hospital in Tasmania, describing graphically how a casual surf at Binalong Bay almost ended in tragedy.
"We were just surfing and she was probably five or 10 metres out in front of me," he said.
"The next thing I know she screamed and disappeared under the water.
"She came up and was fighting the shark and hitting it and screaming: 'Help me, help me, help me.' We didn't see it coming.
"It dragged her around a bit and then she went down and under again. I was really worried. There was blood all in the water.
"It brought her up to the top again and I paddled over to her and tried to push it with the board and tried to hit it but I don't think it felt it really. It was a pretty big shark - a monster.
"It would have had two goes at her. She's lucky she didn't lose her leg.
"Hannah kept a really good head on her - kept it together.
"It grabbed her surfboard and dragged that under and she still had her leg rope on and it dragged her under again.
"The shark started circling us and coming up underneath us and when it did that we stopped and turned to face it so we could push it out of the way or poke it in the eye or something.
"She kept it together. There was blood everywhere and I didn't know whether it was going to try and bite her again.
"Then a wave came along and I said 'No matter how weak you are, try and hang on. This wave is going to save our lives.'
"And then we caught that wave to the beach, dragged her up on the beach and saw her leg had been mauled.
"It was pretty deep, in behind her knee was deep. You could almost see the bone. It was pretty horrible really.
"We were lucky the water was cold. It slowed her heart rate so when we pulled her out of the water the leg wasn't spurting blood everywhere.
"There happened to be a doctor and a nurse on the beach. We got a leg rope ... and wrapped it around and then wrapped some towels around to try and slow the blood down. We got a mobile phone and rang the ambulance.
"I just think it was meant to happen for a reason. I'm blessed.
"She was on the beach and whingeing about the pain. I said: 'You should be laughing that you're alive, don't whinge about the pain.'
"She's 13 years old. She made me very proud. She gave me the strength to stay there with her in the water - when I saw the way she was fighting it off.
"She was scared but she fought it off. She wasn't going to let it beat her.
"I was really scared but the way she fought that shark off. What are you going to do, leave your relative to die?
"I was stunned - I didn't know what to do. She was the one who pulled me through it. She's the hero. She's my hero.
"She's going to be all right, but she's going to have a big scar and a story to tell. She's a very, very, very brave girl.
"As for the shark, well they belong there, there's nothing you can do. It just did what it instinctively thought to do.
"That's life. Hannah would say the same. She actually wants to be a marine biologist and this hasn't changed her mind.
"When she came up I said: 'Try to get your leg rope off, try and get your leg rope off', and I was trying to look for the shark because it disappeared and all I could see was blood in the water.
"The leg rope is about six foot [1.8 metres] long, but then it broke and she popped up and I said: 'Jump on my back.'
"She jumped on my back and we started paddling to the beach and I said 'Don't let go, whatever you do don't let go.' "Mr Mundy said hitting the shark on the head "was like hitting a brick wall - it was that dense"."I didn't have a tape to measure it but it was huge. It was easily the length of a car."It was just a monster."
The Examiner, with AAP