Warning: Graphic Content
A fisherman in South Africa is lucky to be alive after he accidentally shot himself in the face with a spear gun.
The incident occurred as the 48-year-old man was diving off the coast of Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
According to witnesses, the man was ‘distraught’ as he stumbled back onto the beach, where members of the Scottburgh Lifesaving Club rushed over to help him.
As the photos show, the spear somehow entered the man’s head through the right side of his jaw, and came out the other side underneath his left eye.
A voice message from the lifeguards who treated him said the 48-year-old ‘shot himself below his sinus and beneath his brain with a speargun,’ MailOnline reports.
Lifeguards and paramedics treated the man on the beach, as he was still conscious, before he was airlifted to a nearby hospital, according to News24.
Though the man was alive and conscious after the event, it was unclear how it happened, with the 48-year-old said to be in a critical condition as he was taken to hospital.
A Facebook post by a witness read: ‘Toti diver this morning spear straight thru his head. Hectic… a miracle he’s still alive’. The post received hundreds of comments and thousands of shares on social media.
Jubilee Mthiyane, a lifeguard stationed at the Scottburgh Lifesaving Club, told East Coast Radio how the fisherman had been diving when he decided to swim down to retrieve sinkers (weighted baits used in fishing).
His spear gun was loaded and somehow it went off and the spear struck him on the side of the face.
We ran there and managed to call the paramedics. The spear was cut shorter to enable the medics to work. He was then taken to hospital.
KwaZulu-Natal Helicopter Emergency Medical Services: Netcare 5 a specialised helicopter ambulance has been activated for a trauma case in Scottsburg. pic.twitter.com/sYInnR0eDH
— Netcare 911 (@Netcare911_sa) August 30, 2019
Shawn Herbst, a member of the emergency response team, said:
It was a penetrating injury. As far as we know, the spear had gone through the right side of his jaw. We will only know the full extent of his injuries once he has gone through surgery.
Spearfishing is an ancient technique of catching fish. Originally using hand-held, sharpened sticks, today’s fishermen can use high-powered, mechanical spearguns to fire the spears, though these are outlawed in some countries.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.