Spearfisherman Nearly Loses Arm in Serious ‘Shark Bite Incident’

by Craig Garrett
Great white shark,carcharodon carcharias, swimming, south australia - stock photo

A spearfisher had a close call when he was attacked by a shark off Australia’s west coast, as reported by officials and local media. CBS News reports that the individual nearly lost his arm in the attack. A “serious shark bite incident” occurred offshore from Port Hedland, according to a news release from Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries.

Robbie Peck, the victim in this incident, was bitten by a shark after he had speared a fish. The type of shark is unknown. He was taken to shore by St John’s Ambulance and then transported to the hospital. The man sustained multiple injuries, the worst being to his left arm which was “nearly severed,” according to a Royal Flying Doctor Service spokesperson who spoke with Australian Associated Press. Fortunately, health officials said the man was in stable condition when they last checked.

Peck’s wife, Emily, said she was shocked by the assault, according to 7News Australia. “Just that sinking feeling in your gut and I swear all of the blood just drained from my face,” she recalled. “It’s not a phone call you ever want to get. You expect the worse straight away when you hear shark attack.”

In January, officials said that shark attacks had increased worldwide following three years of decline. The U.S., as it has in previous years, reported the most unprovoked bites in 2021 with 47 confirmed cases–64% of the total number of such incidents globally. Australia ranked second with 12 such occurrences last year, researchers say.

Tracking Sharks reports that there have been 11 shark attack bites in Australia this year, resulting in one death. The first deadly shark attack to occur in decades took place last February near Sydney, Australia.

How common are shark attacks?

Every year, about 80 unprovoked shark attacks are reported globally. Even though they aren’t common, many people fear them. This is because of hearing of serial attacks, such as the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916. Of course, there are also horror movies like the Jaws series that promote the idea. Out of more than 489 known shark species, only three types are responsible for a double-digit number of fatal and unprovoked human attacks. These species include the great white, tiger, and bull Sharks. The oceanic whitetip has likely killed even more people who were stranded at sea. However, these deaths are not recorded in official statistics.

According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there were 2,785 verified unprovoked attacks throughout the world between 1958 and 2016, with 439 fatalities. An average of four people yearly died from bites between 2001 and 2010.

Despite these claims, however, the actual number of fatal shark attacks around the world is unclear. For most Third World coastal nations, there is no means to report possible shark bites. As a result, near-shore and ocean losses and fatalities are frequently neglected or unmentioned.