Rescuer relives moment boy, 10, was bitten by a shark at a popular beach – before he dragged the child to safety while his father stood guard to make sure the beast didn’t bite his son again
- A 10-year-old boy was attacked by a shark about 1,000km north of Perth
- He was bitten on the foot at Five Finger Reef just south of Coral Bay in WA
- The young child was then airlifted to Perth Children’s Hospital on Friday
- Tour guide Warwick Coles has told how he heroically swam out to the boy
A tour guide has told of the moment he dragged a young boy to safety after he was bitten by a two-metre bronze whaler shark at a popular tourist beach.
Warwick ‘Wokka’ Coles, 48, was at Five Finger Reef near Coral Bay – about 1,000km north of Perth – when he heard a spear fisherman yelling for help after the shark attacked his 10-year-old son.
Mr Coles said he pulled the boy onto the sand as he bled from the bite to his foot while his father stood guard with his spear gun to make sure the shark didn’t attack again.
Warwick ‘Wokka’ Coles (pictured) swam out to the young boy after hearing his father’s calls for help
The beach at Five Finger Reef near Coral Beach (pictured) will be closed until Saturday afternoon
‘It wasn’t gushing, but there was enough for it to leave a trail of blood behind as I dragged him into the shallows,’ Mr Coles told The West Australian.
When they were back on the beach, he fetched gauze to bandage the wound and called an ambulance as other witnesses rushed to help.
He said the father told him he had not even realised straight away the boy had been bitten.
‘He thought he was just pointing out the shark to him, but then he yelled ‘it bit me’. It was a pretty big open wound, open quite wide.’
Mr Coles heard the man’s calls for help about 25m offshore as he was leading tourists on a quad bike and snorkel adventure.
His initial thought was a shark had been spotted but he still selflessly dived in the water and swam out to the father and his son.
Mr Coles dragged the boy bleeding from a foot wound to the sand. The child was then airlifted to hospital in a stable condition
He explained that although he sees sharks daily in his job, he was shaken by the extremely close call.
‘When this sort of thing happens, even if it doesn’t end up being that serious, you think about what could’ve happened,’ he said.
He also praised the young boy – saying despite being slightly anxious once onshore he kept it together well – and the father – who he said calmly kept assuring the boy he was going to be alright.
The attack is particularly concerning because the shark had not been attracted to the spear fisherman’s catch, who had yet to catch anything, Mr Coles revealed.
Mr Coles had been leading a quad bike and snorkel adventure for his employer Coastal Adevnture Tours (pictured) when he heroically swam out to help the boy
Authorities were alerted to the shark bite by Mr Coles colleague about 11.14am on Friday.
The young boy was then airlifted to Perth Children’s Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The beach at Five Finger Reef will be closed for until Saturday afternoon, WA Today reported.
Authorities were alerted to the bite at 11.14am on Friday, at Five Finger Reef just south of Coral Bay (stock image)
The tourist hotspot is popular for snorkelling and only accessible by four-wheel-drive.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said abronze whaler shark was seen about 75m off the coast in the area about 10 minutes after the boy was injured.
A spear fisherman was bitten at the same spot in March year but escaped when he punched the shark.