Surfer punches great white shark to save his wife: ‘You just react’

Author: CBS/AFP
Mark Rapley (CBS News)

An Australian man has been hailed a “hero” after repeatedly punching a great white shark until it released his wife’s leg. Police said the couple was surfing at a beach near Port Macquarie, four hours north of Sydney, on Saturday morning when she was bitten twice and injured on her right leg.

“Her companion was forced to punch the fish until it let go,” police said in the statement. The man was later identified as Mark Rapley.

Paramedics treated 35-year-old Chantelle Doyle at the beach before she was later airlifted to a major hospital. She has since undergone more than nine hours of emergency surgery to help repair nerve damage, 10 News First Sydney reported. There were no signs of impact to major arteries, meaning it is unlikely she will lose her leg, the station reported.

“We’ve had some really serious and tragic shark encounters over the past couple of months along the coastline, so to paddle out of your own safety zone, into an area where you know there is a large shark, I think is amazing … a tremendous act of bravery,” state Surf Life Saving chief executive Steven Pearce said.

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