A ex navy clearance diver who lost limbs when he was attacked by a 3m bull shark in Sydney Harbour in 2009 has shared a confronting message after a woman was attacked in the same waters on Monday.
Paul de Gelder lost an arm and leg but has since gone on to dedicate his life to the protection of sharks, campaigning for the conservation of sea life.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Sunrise’s Liam Tapper reads out a statement from Sydney Harbour shark attack survivor, Paul de Gelder.
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Appearing on Sunrise on Tuesday, reporter Liam Tapper read out a statement from de Gelder, who sent his best wishes to the young bite victim.
“My best wishes go out to the young lady who was bitten yesterday and in the days to come of healing, if I can be of any help or support then I welcome her to reach out,” de Gelder wrote.
Liam Tapper on Sunrise on Tuesday, where he read out a statement from shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder, following the latest shark attack in Sydney Harbour. Credit: Seven
But Paul warned swimmers to take care when they were in Sydney Harbour.
“Our beautiful harbour can also be a dangerous place, and we must take responsibility ourselves when entering these dangerous places,” de Gelder added in the statement.
“I’m unaware of the situation leading up to this interaction but it is summer, with the warmer waters bull sharks are in the harbour in larger numbers. I will be working with the DPI later this year to investigate movements and possible population increases. But until then, I don’t have the scientific knowledge to give an educated opinion as to why this event happened.
“I hope everyone will exercise caution while still enjoying themselves in our beautiful waterways.”
During the cross, Liam spoke to locals in the area, who were shaken after the attack.
“It’s just really scary to be honest,” one local woman said.
“We sometimes go swimming in the beach but it was really mucky — so thank goodness we didn’t go in,” another woman said.
When the 2009 attack occurred, de Gelder was participating in some run-of-mill counter-terrorism drills alongside Garden Island, the home of the navy’s base in the harbour.
Recalling the attack to The Guardian last year, de Gelder said, “After about five minutes, out of nowhere, a 10ft (3.05 metres) bull shark came up from underneath me.”
The driver made eye contact with the shark for a split second, adding: “Then it grabbed me in its jaw by the back of my right hamstring and my right hand — both in the same bite.”
He said he believed he was going to die during the attack but managed to swim away from the blood in the water, getting into a nearby safety boat.
On Monday, a 29-year-old woman was attacked by a shark at nearby Elizabeth Bay, while she was swimming at a private wharf at Billyard Ave just before 8pm.
It is believed she had just jumped off the wharf and was swimming out to a boat when she was bitten on her right leg.
Witnesses jumped in to save her and pulled her back to land, including a vet who applied a tourniquet to her leg to stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived.
“My wife’s a vet and she basically bandaged it up,” the woman’s wife told 7NEWS.
“The bone’s broken, it’s pretty hectic but she seems to be OK.
“She’s in a lot of shock, we kept her warm.”
Had the swimmer been further out in the water, “she wouldn’t have survived”, she added.
NSW Ambulance said the woman suffered critical injuries and severe blood loss from injuries to her lower leg.
A rescue helicopter was on standby, but she was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital by road and was in a serious condition as of Tuesday morning.
7NEWS understands she will undergo surgery later on Tuesday.