14 year old Dylan Puttergill was ambushed while surfing off The Haven on the Wild Coast last week. The grade nine scholar suffered 250 stitches – but all his limbs intact after one bite from a shark.
The 2.5m-long shark grabbed his right leg, biting into his shin, knee and thigh, leaving a 40cm half-circle of toothmarks.
Despite surface-to-bottom visibility in cool water on a perfect, partially clouded day, Dylan said he did not see the apex predator shooting up from below and smashing into him torpedo-style. “I was boosted into the air and my board shot out sideways.”
14 year old Dylan Puttergill suffered 250 stitches – but all his limbs intact after one bite from a shark. ©Alan Eason
“It was so fast, but it let go immediately. I saw it from the side and it was about 80cm from the top of its fin to its belly. It was grey on top and white below. My dad thinks it was a Zambezi.” Said Dylan. “I was completely shocked. I slowly paddled 50m to shore, looking behind me but I never saw it again.”
“I ran my hand down my leg and felt this massive lump and saw the holes in my wet suit. As soon as I got to land and tried to stand up all the blood ran out over my foot.”
With help from a friend he managed to walk the 100m home where his dad, Phillip, cut the suit away from the injury and immediately wrapped his son’s leg in all the swabs he could find.
Dylan was airlifted to Life Beacon Bay where, after a tense wait in the emergency section, he underwent surgery. The family were told there had been a lot of sardine-related activity in the area and Dylan and co. have electronic shark protection devices, but only use them at a “sharky spot” a few kilometres up the coast.
Dylan said he did not like wearing the device because he could “feel the shocks” in his leg.
Wild Coast perfection.
A few weeks ago the NSRI sent out a shark alert, urging public caution along the coastline.
Read more from Mike Loewe’s report on Dispatch Live.