Tradie who lost a leg in great white shark attack wins bizarre six-year legal battle to keep TOOTH the man-eater left embedded in him as a souvenir after arguing it was a ‘fair swap’ for his limb
- A shark attack survivor has been given a special exemption to keep its tooth
- Chris Blowes, 32, lost his leg and nearly died after getting attacked in 2015
- Strict laws around protected species prevented him from keeping the tooth
- But after a grueling six-year legal battle he is now allowed to keep the memento
Chris Blowes, 32, is now allowed to keep the great white shark’s tooth after a mammoth legal battle
A surfer who had his leg bitten off by a monster six-metre shark has finally won a ‘stupid’ six year legal battle allowing him to keep the man-eater’s tooth.
Chris Blowes, now 32, was viciously attacked by the ‘massive’ great white at Port Lincoln’s Fishery Bay in South Australia on Anzac Day, 2015.
At the time, traumatised beachgoers described how the predator swam off with Mr Blowes’ leg lodged in its jaw.
Mr Blowes asked to keep the shark’s tooth as a souvenir in the wake of the near-fatal incident, but was not allowed due to the strict laws around protected species.
But eventually the state government made a very special exemption, acknowledging that a tooth for a leg is a ‘fair swap’.
Chris Blowes, now 32, (pictured with his wife) was viciously attacked by the ‘massive’ great white at Port Lincoln in South Australia on Anzac Day, 2015
The young tradesman had lost so much blood doctors could barely believe he survived the ordeal.
Mr Blowes lost consciousness shortly after the attack and had to undergo a number of emergency surgeries.
It was only the quick thinking of his brave friends to pull him from the water and use a surfboard leg rope as a make-shift tourniquet that saved his life.
Beachgoers handed what remained of his surfboard to emergency responders as Mr Blowes was rushed off to hospital.
Still stuck in the board was one of the shark’s bottom jaw teeth – the top jaw teeth pierced Mr Blowes’ hip.
It eventually ended up in the hands of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions.
But they couldn’t hand the tooth over to the young father because under the state’s Fisheries Management Act it is illegal to ‘possess, sell or purchase any part of the protected species’.
But after lobbying the state for permission to keep it, Fisheries Minister David Basham made an exemption and handed it over.
‘This is something I’ll be able to show my kids and grandkids,’ Mr Blowes told the Adelaide Advertiser.
‘I’m just happy to have it back – a tooth for a leg, surely that’s a fair swap.’
‘It’s ridiculous to think considering it took my leg and it was stuck in my board – it seems stupid that I wasn’t able to have it in the first place, but that’s what the law says,’ he told the ABC.
Despite the horrifying experience, Mr Blowes (pictured) is still able to surf with a prosthetic leg
It was only the quick thinking of his brave friends to pull him from the water and use a surfboard leg rope as a make-shift tourniquet that saved his life
Shark attack survivor, Dave Pearson, who founded the Bite Club Facebook group, said the current laws are ‘silly’.
‘I do understand the rules and why they exist, and nobody in our group wants to actively go out and kill a great white just so they can get a set of jaws,’ he said.
‘But it means a lot for the survivor to have that souvenir from their attack — it’s an attachment and I guess it’s a connection to the shark that you need to have.’
Despite the horrifying experience, Mr Blowes is still able to surf with a prosthetic leg.
He has received messages from countless people around the globe who call him an inspiration and a hero for anyone living with a disability.
‘I’m just happy to have it back – a tooth for a leg, surely that’s a fair swap,’ Mr Blowes said