If you ever had an inkling hand-feeding sharks was a bad idea, then this story will do nothing to convince you otherwise.
Melissa Brunning from Perth was enjoying a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip to the northwestern coast of Australia, in the gorgeous surroundings of Dugong Bay.
Cruising on her friend’s super yacht, Melissa and pals apparently experienced a moment of extreme daring, where they decided to feed the Tawny nurse sharks which were swimming with deceptive placidity at the back of the yacht.
The last member of the group to give it a go, 34-year-old Melissa didn’t realise she needed to just leave the fish in front of her for the two metre long shark to slurp up.
Instead, the structural draftsperson attempted to feed the sharp toothed creature herself with her bare hands. It was then her heavenly surroundings were plunged into nightmare territory…
With all the force of a ‘hoover,’ the hungry shark sucked at Melissa’s right index finger, teeth ‘shredding’ her flesh from the bone.
As shown through mobile phone footage, Melissa screamed in terror as she was ripped into the waters, the terrible strength of the shark’s jaws suddenly evident.
One quick thinking friend was able to grab her, pulling her to safety before she descended beneath the surface of the crocodile and shark infested waters.
You can watch the terrifying encounter for yourself below:
Melissa initially feared she had lost her finger during the attack, however fortunately the digit had remained intact.
Recalling the terrifying incident with Perth News, Melissa revealed the following squeamish details:
I think the shark was in shock as much as I was … the only way I can describe it is this immense pressure and it felt like it was shredding it off the bone,
I came up and I was like, ‘I’ve lost my finger, my finger’s gone.’
Her fellow yachters were able to put her mind at rest by assuring her the finger was merely injured.
This was only the third day of her two week holiday, and stoic Melissa was determined to soldier on and enjoy what was left of her adventure.
Upon her return home, doctors found Melissa’s finger had contracted a bad infection, and discovered she had also suffered a fracture and torn ligament.
Going forward, Melissa has learnt to ‘respect marine life, and look at it in awe, but just leave them alone.’
Melissa also wants people to know the fault was on her part for not respecting the shark’s territory:
It’s not the shark’s fault at all, but it could have been a lot worse,
This is not a shark attack, this is just a blonde doing a stupid thing.
I’m not a shark victim .. I have full respect for sharks, I think they’re incredible. I’ve always had the opinion that when you’re in the water, they’re top of the food chain, it’s their domain.
We’re not meant to be in the water, if we were we’d have gills.
Sharks are extremely cool and interesting creatures, but they need to be treated with respect and are certainly not cuddly petting-zoo critters you can feed with your own hand.
Melissa was lucky this time, but – as she admitted herself – the situation could have been much, much worse…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.