Surfer Repeatedly Punches Great White Shark to Save Wife Bitten Multiple Times: 'You Just React'
"When you see the mother of your child, and your support, everything that's who you are, you just react," Mark Rapley said
A man repeatedly punched a great white shark that attacked his wife this weekend off the Australian coast — and saved her life in the process.
The woman — identified as Chantelle Doyle by Nine News — was surfing at Shelly Beach on Saturday morning when she was bitten on the right calf, then the back of her thigh, by a great white shark, according to New South Wales Police.
Doyle's husband, Mark Rapley, managed to save her by punching the shark until it finally released its grip.
"When you see the mother of your child, and your support, everything that's who you are, you just react," Rapley said, according to KTRK.
"You start thinking, amazingly, where to punch," he said of the courageous act. "So you're like, I'll just attack the eye or whatever, you just start thinking differently, I suppose."
Doyle, 35, was treated for leg injuries by emergency personnel before being transported to a nearby hospital. She was later airlifted to John Hunter Hospital to undergo an operation and is listed in stable condition, police said.
The juvenile shark measured nearly 10 feet in length, according to Nine News.
Beaches in the area remained closed for a minimum of 24 hours following the incident, said Surf Life Saving NSW, a network of volunteer surf lifesavers and professional lifeguards.
"Our thoughts are with the young lady who was injured in the shark attack this morning. And we'd like to praise her fellow surfers who came to her aid so quickly," Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said in a statement.
"Our lifesavers and lifeguards moved quickly to close beaches in the area and are now working closely with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to monitor the area to ensure there are no longer sharks in the vicinity," he continued.
Andrew Beverley of the NSW Ambulance praised beachgoers who helped the couple after the attack.
"The bystanders on scene that rendered assistance should be commended," he said, according to Nine News. "They did an amazing job before we arrived."
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Beverley said there have been three serious shark attacks on the Northern Coast of Australia over the last few months.
In July, 15-year-old Mani Hart-Deville was mauled in a suspected shark attack while in the water off of Wooli Beach in Australia.
He suffered a serious injury from a bite to his upper left thigh and died a short time later, according to Australia's ABC News.