Australian surfer, Sean Pollard reveals epic battle with two great white sharks that sucked the meat off my bone

February 16, 2015 8:12 pm

managed to kick his way back to shore after his double brush with death. Photo / Cannel Nine / Screengrab
The girlfriend of a surfer who lost both his arms in a double shark
attack last year has revealed her eerie warnings to her partner.
Sean
Pollard was surfing at a remote beach near Esperance in Western
in October last year when he was attacked by two great whites.
Speaking to Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes,
Mr Pollard’s girlfriend, Claire Oakford, revealed how she would warn
him each time he would take to the waves to be on the lookout for
sharks.
“Each time we’d go down to go surfing that’s one of the things that I’d always mention,” she said.
“I’d just tell her don’t be silly,” Mr Pollard said. “I’d seen a couple of small ones, nothing big.

“My way of dealing with it was I believed that they are not real … and I don’t have to worry about it.”
On
the morning Mr Pollard was attacked, he had been teaching Ms Oakford to
surf. They were on a near deserted beach in Esperence, Western
Australia. Locals know the particular spot as Kelpie’s Beach in Wylie
Bay.
After the pair had spent some time in the water together Ms
Oakford retired to the sand to sunbake while Sean headed further out to
catch some bigger waves.
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The surfer’s girlfriend said she didn’t realise something was wrong with Sean until he was struggling back to shore.
“I’d
looked up and could see his board really far out … but I couldn’t see
him, that was a bit strange. Then I did see him coming in on a wave
like body surfing and he was sort of looking over at me.
Ms Oakford said she was “rooted to the ground” when she saw him trying to make it back.

Epic battle

“When he stood up that first time that was when I realised, because he was sort of lopsided,” she said.

Mr
Pollard also revealed during the programme the moment he knew he was
under attack, and the epic battle with two great whites that nearly took
his life.
After first taking a bite out of his board and then taking a second chunk out of his leg, the shark went for his arms.
“I
was trying to paddle calmly so I wasn’t splashing around like I was
panicking, but once it got directly behind me it charged through the
water. That’s when it really went in for the kill,” he said.

“I
spun around to try and face it. It just moved so quick. That’s when it
came up out of the water – I didn’t even see its teeth. It took me like
across, and its eye was right there in front of me.
‘Its eye was the
blackest black I’d ever seen, and that’s just a vision that’s burnt into
my mind. I can’t get it out, just this cover going over its eye as it
bit down on me.
“It started shaking its head. Both my arms were
in its mouth and it just took me underwater. I remember having to hold
my breath and just shook its head, like seven or eight times … it’s
just the hardest thing I’ve ever felt. It was so strong.
“… and
then next thing I popped up and … there was just blood everywhere. It
had ripped my forearm off and sucked the meat off my bone, like a
chicken bone pretty much.”

‘Second bump’

But Mr Pollard’s nightmare didn’t end there. After losing one arm, he felt the “second bump” – another great white.
The double attack is the first of its kind in the world to ever to be reported.
Despite
being attacked at least 50 metres from the shore and losing a huge
amount of blood, Sean miraculously managed to kick his way back to the
beach.
In perhaps the only stroke of luck on one of Sean’s
darkest days, just minutes before his attack two families arrived on the
nearly deserted beach.
All four adults on the beach knew first
aid and together managed to save Sean’s life, according to one of the
paramedics who attended to him later in the day.
At this stage
another of his rescuers had ran up the beach to get their Ute, and using
leg ropes and ratchet straps from the car the four managed to
torniquete all limbs.
Miraculously, Mr Pollard was conscious throughout this ordeal and recalls some moments from the horrifying events that followed.
“I remember saying to Claire, ‘Mum’s going to be pissed’,” he said.
Paul Gaund, one of the paramedics to attend to the traumatic case, also remembered Mr Pollard being incredibly alert.
“He just lifted his head up and said, ‘Can you just please stop the pain mate?'” Mr Gaund said.
Mr Pollard had to travel more than 700km from the remote beach to a hospital where he received emergency surgery.
Another medical professional attributed Mr Pollard’s survival solely to his rescuers’ quick thinking and expertise.
“No
doubt they saved his life, that initial first aid really did make the
difference. I guess you could say it’s a chain of survival for Sean,
fortunately for him there was no weak link.”

‘My rock’

After
95 stitches and 45 staples to help his wounded body heal, Sean had to
learn to walk again as his legs had also been attacked during the
horrific ordeal.
He now uses a prosthetic arm to help him get by,
but he admitted the four months since his attack have been a tough
uphill struggle.
“I find myself grieving for my old life every
now and then and what everything I aspired to be before, it’s all kind
of changed now. It’s pretty hard some days,” he said.
“Some
mornings you just don’t want to get out of bed and face it, but then
again some days when you’re doing something nice I think, you know, it’s
pretty good that I’m still here to be able to enjoy this.”
Describing
his girlfriend as his rock, Mr Pollard said he believed his recovery
would have been all the more difficult without her by his side.
“She’s
definitely my rock, I don’t know where I’d be without her I’d
definitely be struggling a lot more that’s for sure,” he admitted.

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