A MAN devastated by a 700-pound shark has told how it went into him a whopping 350 teeth as he fought for his life.
Paul De Gelder, 45, was “shaken like a rag doll” by the underwater beast and choked on his own blood.
The shark attack survivor from Melbourne, Australia was ambushed by the 9ft bull shark while swimming through Sydney Harbour.
He was doing a routine military exercise with the Australian Navy in February 2009 when he was spotted in the water by the aggressive species.
Paul had been swimming in a black wetsuit and rubber fins on his back – which he credits with being a prime target for the underwater predator.
The 45-year-old described how the bull shark “clamped” its jaws around its right leg and hand, pulling it under the surface.
He told the Daily Mail: “My fighting instinct kicked in. As any schoolboy knows, when a shark attacks you, punch him in the eye.
“That was the only option I was denied as my right hand was pinned to my leg with its teeth.”
Trapped underwater with the beast, he struggled to free himself from his razor-sharp teeth, which were shredding his flesh.
Bull sharks have more crunches than any other species, with seven sharp pearly whites sitting in a whopping 50 rows.
Paul recalled feeling terribly the muscles in his hamstring and hand being ripped off – all the while drowning.
The distraught Army veteran and former paratrooper attempted another left-handed counterattack on the “terrifyingly aggressive” apex predator.
He continued, “That’s when it started shaking me like a rag doll.
“As his teeth sawed through my flesh and bones, I felt the most intense pain imaginable.”
Paul’s agonizing injuries drained all his strength from him, leaving him to choke on his own crimson blood that had filled the water.
The 700-pound beast then began to pull him down and saw him reconcile himself to his doomed fate.
But the bull shark then bizarrely loosened its ferocious grip on the diver, leaving a badly injured Paul to the surface.
I closed my eyes and prepared to bleed to death.
Paul de Gelder
The veteran 45-year-old raised his impaled arm out of the water as he desperately tried to signal his mates and reach the safety boat.
He added: “I saw the look of horror on my teammates’ faces as they pulled me in, so I did what soldiers do and made a joke.
“Then I closed my eyes and prepared to bleed to death.”
Paul said he owes his life to one of his quick-thinking colleagues who “shoved his hand up my leg and held my severed artery shut with his fingers” until he reached dry land.
His right arm and leg had been chopped off by the fearsome bull shark, forcing him to spend three grueling months in rehabilitation.
But the 45-year-old miraculously returned to work for the Navy before becoming a motivational speaker campaigning for shark conservation.
The double amputee also believes he’s cracked the case as to why the beast ravaged him in the murky waters of Sydney Harbour.
‘Bad Day at Work’
He suspects that his dark scuba gear and fins lured the shark to the surface, under the illusion that he was a sea creature rather than a human.
Paul added: “Banging a fin against water creates the kind of low-frequency sound waves that sharks are attuned to and that’s probably what drew the bull to me.
“It had clearly decided that there was only one way to tell what was causing this surface splash: bite into it.”
Despite his near-death experience, the former diver still enjoys a dip in the sea – and has even returned to splash around in Sydney Harbour.
He refuses to let his injuries from his “bad day at work” prevent him from enjoying life to the fullest, leading him to become an expert on sharks.
Paul wants to get people to “fall in love with sharks like him” and help swimmers understand the dangers of entering animal habitats.
The survivor said: “Shark attacks are rare and we must view them as accidents rather than murder.
“With the exception of shipwreck survivors, almost all shark attack victims are in the water because the sea is a magical place they love.
“Sharks are part of that magic and we must always remember that we are guests in their home.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5942763/man-savaged-shark-choking-on-own-blood/ I was devastated by a 700-pound shark – it pierced me with 350 teeth, shook me like a rag doll, and left me to choke on my own blood