Brett Connellan Doing Better: Australian Pro Surfer Was Mauled By Shark

April 1, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Brett Connellan, a professional surfer, who was mauled by a shark off the Australian coast, is awake and talking. In his first interview, Connellan, who lost a chunk of his thigh, said not to use this incident to explain why shark hunt should be allowed.

Brett Connellan

Brett Connellan, a 22-year-old popular professional surfer, who was bitten by a large shark, is now awake and doing well. Wednesday night, at around 7 pm, Connellan, who was surfing at Kiama’s Bombo Beach, near Wollongong, south of Sydney, was mauled by a large shark. Joel Trist is being hailed a hero for rushing and saving his friend’s life after he heard him screaming for help.

Trist told local reporters that he paddled as fast as he could toward Connellan, dragged him to his board, and they caught a wave to shore. Mr. Connellan, who lost a large chunk of his left thigh, was flown by helicopter to Sydney’s St. George Hospital where he remained in an induced coma after undergoing surgery overnight. Trist said:

“I said to him: ‘What’s it like?’ and he said: ‘It’s not good.’ And at that point I knew something was horribly wrong. I guess the adrenaline kicked in and I paddled as hard as I could towards him. Luckily by that stage the shark had gone away from where he was. To be honest, being a good distance away, I didn’t get a good glimpse of it, but from the thrashing … it looked like it hit him pretty hard.”

On Thursday, the shark attack victim woke up and from his hospital bed, he has asked that his ordeal not be used as cause for a shark hunt. Family friend Wayne Phillips addressed media outside St George Hospital where he revealed that the surfer was now conscious and communicating. Phillips stated:

“Brett is surrounded by his very close friends and family and Brett has said that he knows the risks and respects surfing. He’s been a surfer all his life and he doesn’t want this attack to result in a sort of shark hunt.”

Beaches across Kiama remained closed on Thursday as authorities searched for the creature involved in Wednesday’s attack. Mr. Phillips added:

“Brett’s injuries could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the fact Brett fought off the attack, and his mate surfing at the time came to his assistance … brought him to the beach and [with] two off-duty nurses stemmed the bleeding until the arrival of paramedics. Brett’s got a long road to recovery. He’s in a serious but stable condition and the fantastic staff here … are assessing Brett right now on his leg.”

Experts will examine Connellan’s wounds to determine the species and estimate the size of the shark that harmed him.

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