Soldier recounts terrifying details of shark attack where he lost an arm

Soldier recounts terrifying details of shark attack where he lost an arm
#The Moment a man came face-to-face with a great white shark

A former soldier has recounted the terrifying shark attack he suffered during a military exercise which caused him to lose an arm and a leg.

Paul de Gelder was a paratrooper who feared for his life during the ordeal, which saw him attacked by a 50-tonne bull shark.

The animal tore off two of his limbs during the attack in 2009, and de Gelder spoke about his ordeal during an interview with CBS.

The 46-year-old from Melbourne, Australia was taking part in a naval exercise in the Sydney Harbour when it took place.

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“I was swimming from point A to point B on the surface on my back and a 10-foot bull shark came up from underneath me,” he said.

"It grabbed me by the back of my right leg and my right hand, which was by my side, all in one bite."

Describing how he tried to fight back by hitting the shark, de Gelder said: "That's when it started to shake me like a rag doll. As its teeth worked through my flesh and bone like saws, I was overcome by the most intense pain imaginable."

He then recalled how he managed to escape the shark’s clutches before having to swim back to his boat surrounded by a pool of blood.

"It took me under. The pain and the terror. I thought I was going to die. It removed my hamstring and my hand,” de Gelder added.

"I had to swim back to my safety boat with one hand and leg through a pool of my own blood. I didn't think I was going to make it.

“I'm very, very lucky and blessed to still be here and breathing today."


He returned to work with the armed forces and also became a motivational speaker. However, despite his injuries, he believes that sharks should not be demonised.

"I see my role as speaking up for an animal that doesn't have a voice,” he said.

"I figure if someone like me who has almost lost their life and two limbs to a shark can understand why they are so important and why they need to be saved, then maybe everyone else should be able to as well."

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