Western Australian spear-fisherman Keiron Benson hugged a shark to stop it attacking him after he shot it through the eye at Five Fingers Reef, Coral Bay
- Keiron Benson escaped a shark attack in WA
- He speared the shark’s eye and hugged its tail
A spear-fisherman narrowly avoided being mauled to death by a vicious shark by hugging it for dear life after he speared it in its eye when it suddenly attacked him.
Albany man Keiron Benson and his family had spent several days at Five Fingers Reef, on Western Australia’s north coast, during the school holidays earlier this month.
But what had been a fun trip of snorkelling, fishing and swimming took a dramatic turn when Mr Benson decided to go fishing on their last day.
The father said he’d wanted to celebrate the end of the trip by catching a fish to cook for dinner.
At about 3pm he grabbed his speargun and the family took their dinghy about 200m offshore.
Mr Benson dived alone while his partner, daughter and stepson waited in the boat.
Keiron Benson (above) survived a shark attack at Five Fingers Reef, Western Australia, earlier this month
Mr Benson had spent several days at Five Fingers Reef (above) swimming, snorkelling and fishing with his partner, daughter and stepson
‘I was about to head back when I saw a big shape in the water,’ he told the ABC.
The shape turned out to be a large shark which Mr Benson believes was either a tiger or bull shark.
‘It started circling me, each time getting closer… it just got bigger and I realised it wasn’t a reef shark like we’d seen previously,’ he said.
By this point Mr Benson had drifted a fair way from his family’s boat so he did his best to wave them over to help him while still trying to remain calm.
When he looked back down in the water, the shark was near the end of his speargun.
In that moment Mr Benson noticed the shark instantly became more aggressive and was moving closer.
‘It was right at end of the gun. I just thought, “Shoot” and I did, and at that exact moment it must’ve decided to flick and attack me,’ he said.
A shark (example above) attempted to attack Mr Benson while he was spearfishing, he knocked it unconscious by shooting his spear through its eye
Mr Benson (above) survived the remainder of the attack by holding onto the shark’s tail while it tried to bite him
His gun managed to hit the shark’s eye socket, knocking it unconscious, but the momentum it had built to attack meant it slammed into Mr Benson’s side.
With his family still metres away, the dad knew he had just moments to save his life.
‘The tail hooked up under my shoulder [and it] gave me the idea to hang on. I grabbed the tail and just sort of hugged it,’ he said.
Just seconds later the shark regained consciousness and began trying to attack.
‘It started arching back around… snapping at me… we started rotating underwater several times in a spin,’ Mr Benson said.
The pair continued to struggle as the dinghy pulled up alongside them.
For several horrifying moments Mr Benson and the shark thrashed in the water as his family watched on.
It was only when the shark suddenly dived down that the dad saw an opportunity to escape and jumped into the boat.
‘I just flew into the boat, don’t remember touching the sides, just jumping in,’ he said.
Mr Benson (pictured with partner, Hollie) managed to climb aboard his family’s boat and escaped the attack without any major injuries
Miraculously, he managed to escape the encounter with only bruises.
Fishery workers are using DNA from Mr Benson’s speargun to identify which species of shark was responsible for the attack.
It’s thought the shark may have come closer to the shore in an attempt to find fish during an unusually quiet season.