A surfer survived a shark attack by punching the predator after it mauled him off the east coast of Australia early Friday — just like three-time world champion Mick Fanning did earlier this month.
Former boxer Craig Ison suffered serious injuries to his left leg and hand as he battled what is believed to be a bull shark during the dawn attack at Evans Head, a town around 340 miles north of Sydney.
The 52-year-old was just about to sit up on his board when it flipped over and the creature struck, friend and fellow surfer Geoff Hill told Australia’s Channel 7 News.
Hill said that he could see the shark's tail thrashing about in the water and watched as Ison “got a couple of punches in.”
The witness said it was "like watching Mick Fanning in replay," referring to the Australian surfer who escaped unharmed after punching a shark during a televised competition in South Africa.
However, the shark managed to sink its teeth into Ison’s upper thigh and hip leaving behind a 15-inch bite mark on his left side, Hill added. Ison's hand and arm suffered lacerations as he fought back.
Bleeding heavily, Ison managed to get back to shore where passersby saved him by tying his surfboard’s leg ropes “around his thigh area to try and stop the bleeding,” Hill said.
Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay told Channel 7 their quick thinking had saved his life. Paramedics who later arrived at the scene rushed Ison to a nearby hospital."The leg was a bit of a mess, taken a bit of flesh but the muscle is intact," Hill said.
Shark sightings are a regular occurrence off Australian beaches but attacks are rare. The country averaging around two deaths linked to the predators each year.