Surfer Fanning’s brush with shark ‘terrifying’: Aussie PM

Sydney, July 20 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reflected the horror felt by many of his compatriots who woke up on Monday to terrifying vision of local surfer Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark while competing in a tournament in South Africa.

Australian surfer Fanning was one of two finalists taking part in the Jeffreys-Bay Open when he was set upon by a great white shark on Sunday. The 34-year-old punched and kicked the animal, before fellow surfer and finalist Julian Wilson helped repel the shark. The pair were rescued by officials on jet skis who dragged them back to shore, unharmed, reports Xinhua.

“I was comforted to hear Fanning was unharmed in the scary incident” said Abbott on Monday.

“I saw the stills in the papers this morning and it’s terrifying that such a large shark could be so close to the surfing contest. I bet Mick Fanning is one hell of a relieved surfer.” Abbott said.

Abbott said: “We all love going out into the waves and we love to see dolphin fins but when there’s doubt about what sort of fins it is, it’s pretty scary.”

The event was cancelled, and the surfer told the media after the incident on Sunday that he was lucky to be alive.

“I was just sitting there and I felt something just get stuck in my leg rope, and I was kicking, trying to get it away.”

“I instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I was waiting for teeth to come at me. I punched it in the back,” the three-time world surfing champion added.

Fanning has 20 career surfing tournament victories, including three at J-Bay in South Africa where the shark attack occurred.

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