Surfer whose husband fought off a shark attack 'thought she might die'

Surfer whose husband fought off a great white shark who attacked her admits she ‘thought she might die’ – but does NOT blame the animal for her life-changing injuries

  • Australian Chantelle Doyle, 35, was attacked by a great white shark this month 
  • Her husband Mark Rapley rushed to her side to save her by punching the shark
  • Attack left her with life-changing injuries including damage to nerves and bone
  • Environmental scientist says sharks are ‘important’ and sign of ‘healthy ocean’

A surfer whose husband saved her from being mauled by a great white shark says that despite her life-changing injuries, she doesn’t blame the animal. 

Environmental scientist Chantelle Doyle, 35, from Sydney, Australia was surfing with her husband Mark Rapley at Shelly Beach earlier this month when she was attacked by the shark. 

The animal attacked her right calf and the back of her thigh before Mark launched into action, repeatedly punching the predator in a bid to save her.  

She was left with damage to her knee, my calf muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage and nerves, and currently has no feeling and is unable to move her right leg.  

However, appearing on This Morning today Chantelle insisted that she doesn’t have any negative feelings towards sharks, and accepts that the animals are ‘very important’ and the sign of a ‘healthy ocean’. 

Surfer Chantelle Doyle, 35, from Sydney, Australia, (pictured) was attacked by a great white shark earlier this month 

Appearing on This Morning today with her husband Mark Rapley from her hospital bed in Sydney she explained how she does not blame the animal for her injuries 

Speaking from her hospital bed in Sydney, Chantelle told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eammon Holmes: ‘My first thought was “I think that’s a shark” and then it grabbed me and I knew it was a shark. 

‘My second thought was, “I think I’m on my own, am I ok with this? I might die.” Then I grabbed the surfboard and started yelling, ‘Help, shark, help!’ Clearly I wasn’t ready to die, I was yelling for help.’

The surfer doesn’t blame the shark for her injuries, and feels that the animals are an essential part of ‘our lifeblood around the world’.

Speaking about not blaming the shark, Chantelle said: ‘I’m an environmental scientist and our oceans are our lifeblood around the world and a healthy ocean with lots of marine life and lots of fish means we need sharks. Sharks are very important to have a healthy ocean.’  

Chantelle, pictured following the attack at Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie, was left with damage to her knee, my calf muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage and nerves

Chantelle told that the attack felt like a ‘vice clamping around her leg’ and currently has no feeling and is unable to move her right leg

Chantelle told that the attack felt like a ‘vice clamping around her leg’ and how after finding the energy to pull herself up on her board, she discovered the shark had  ‘pulled the shark’ onto her surfboard.  

‘The shark grabbed my leg when I was still in the water and it was a like a sudden vice clamping around my leg’, said Chantelle. 

‘So it wasn’t really painful, it was just a lot of pressure. And then I just grabbed the board and I pulled myself onto it. 

‘I don’t know how, but I actually pulled the shark a little bit with me because when Mark arrived, when I saw him land in the water next to me and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, what are you doing? Get out of the water!”. 

Chantelle told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eammon Holmes it’ll be 300-400 days before her nerves regrow

‘He was able to climb over the top of me and its head was out of the water, up on the board, with my leg.’  

Eamonn went on to ask Mark if he had time to think or if he instinctively got involved ,with Mark telling: ‘It’s just instinct I think. 

‘You see that, you see the person you love, so you just head in that way hoping you can do something and when you arrive and you see it there, you react.’ You just react, thinking ‘Get off’, so you just react in a way that is trying to get away from that situation.’

He added: ‘The angle of which I paddled over to Chan. It was on her leg and I paddled more towards her front so as I came up, I could see it was still there… When seeing it, I jumped off into the water and pulled myself up onto Chantelle on the board… its nose was out of the water so I could rain punches down on it.’

The surfer doesn’t blame the shark for her injuries, and feels that the animals are an essential part of ‘our lifeblood around the world’

Chantelle was left with life-changing injuries and has no idea about the fate of her leg, telling it’ll be 300-400 days before her nerves regrow. 

She told: ‘Below my [right] knee, the shark bite has damaged my knee, my calf muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage and nerves, not my arteries. It would have been very different if it was my arteries. 

‘But because I have my nerves cut in two places and partially severed in two places, I can’t move or feel my right leg and they say it’ll take maybe 300-400 days for my nerves to regrow and then we will know what will happen to my leg.’ 

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