Sarah Williams and her family were kayaking in South Australia on Sunday when a 15-foot great white shark threw the 15-year-old from her kayak. The family says the attack was something akin to Hollywood shark horror films.
According to reports, the shark attacked Williams’ kayak while her father, Chris, and brother were in a different boat.
A father says his only thought was getting teen daughter out of the water and away from the jaws of a great white that attacked her kayak. pic.twitter.com/fHVUUgoJpE
— 7 News Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) October 23, 2017
“Out of nowhere, the shark has come up from underneath and hit the kayak that she was on and projected her and the kayak into the air,” Chris Williams, told the Nine network.
One hundred feet away from the scene in an aluminum tinny, Chris Williams and his son rushed toward the threshing water and pulled the teen to safety.
“I reckon he’s dragged her over the back of the shark to get her into the tinny,” Chris Williams said of his son.
Williams said that if it had taken any longer to rescue his daughter, the encounter would have likely had a different outcome.
“The enormity of what could have happened is the thing that’s haunting us now,” he told The Guardian. “The difference between my daughter being alive and not being with me today is 10 seconds.”
“It’s something I don’t ever want to experience again,” Williams continued. “To hear the spine-chilling screams from your daughter is just indescribable.”
The Guardian explains that Sarah Williams was actually quite calm once she reached the safety of her father’s boat, even as the shark continued to circle her kayak that they dragged along as they made their way to shore.
The family won’t be returning to the area to kayak again.
Encounters like these continue to embolden advocates for shark attack mitigation strategies across Australia – from nets to drones. The former, especially, is a major point of contention for environmental activists that claim nets do more harm than good.