Tiger shark attack survivor Brett Highlands recalls fight for life

A spearfisherman has described the harrowing moment he was mauled by a 3m tiger shark while diving in Western Australia’s north.

Brett Highlands, 48, was attacked off Quandong Beach near Broome on Friday morning and said he knew he was in the battle of his life.

“It was the chomping effect that I really felt,” he told 7 News in an interview that will air on Tuesday night.

“Like a dog trying to get a grip of a bone. Just a wild animal attached to my arm.”

Mr Highlands said he used his spear gun to stab the shark in the head, then swam backstroke with just one arm back to the boat.

He suffered bites to his forearm and hand.

The boat transported Mr Highlands to Cable Beach, then he was taken to Broome Health Campus before being flown to Perth for surgery.

“There was probably every cop in Broome just racing down the beach with the lifeguards,” one witness told 6PR radio last week.

“It was all pretty cool, calm and collected, really. They just got him in the ambulance and drove off.

“He seemed pretty chill … he looked all right.”

It was the second shark attack in Australia last week.

Mark Sanguinetti, 59, was surfing when he was killed by a 4.5m white shark at Tuncurry Beach, near Forster on the NSW mid-north coast, on Tuesday morning.

He saw the shark and tried to warn others before the animal turned on him, biting him on the upper right thigh.

Charlie Cernoboriwas, 58, was killed by a bull shark at Cable Beach while bodyboarding in November.

He was bitten on the upper thigh and hand.

That fatal attack was the first at the famous beach in almost three decades.

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