Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Terrifying moment: Woman feeding sharks is pulled into water

Terrifying moment: Woman feeding sharks is pulled into water

A woman who was pulled into crocodile-infested waters in northwestern Australia when a shark bit her finger as she attempted to feed it has described the terrifying moment which almost cost her a digit.

Melissa Brunning was on a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip when she was dragged underwater by a shark after attempting to feed it by hand.

Ms Brunning said she feared she would lose her finger. That's when one of the sharks clamped onto her finger and dragged her into the water.

Melissa told Perth Now the shark's mouth was "like a Hoover" and her entire right index finger was swallowed by the animal's razor sharp teeth. She suffered a few cuts, a fracture, an infection and a torn ligament in her finger but will keep the digit.

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"I think the shark was in shock as much as I was. the only way I can describe it is this enormous pressure and it felt like it was shredding it off the bone", she told the paper.

"Just be mindful of your surroundings and don't feed sharks", Brunning stressed. She says she didn't immediately go to the hospital because she was in such a remote area and hoped her finger would heal.

The sharks will bite and act defensive if they are stepped on, or bothered by divers who assume they're docile.

"I came up and I said, 'I've lost my finger.' And I couldn't even look at my finger because I thought it was gone, and I thought if I looked at it, I'd probably go into shock", Brunning recalled.

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She said she did not realise she should have left the piece of fish she was using to feed the sharks in front of her, rather than trying to hand-feed them. I have full respect for sharks, I think they're incredible.

The woman does not blame the shark, adding that it has taught her to "respect marine life". "I'm not a shark victim..."

She is still taking antibiotics after having surgery to fix her broken finger and said she has learnt to 'respect marine life and look at it in awe but just leave them alone'.

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