Shark rescue leads to stitch-up

WHEN 39-year-old Terry “Otto” Lee tried to help out a stranded grey nurse shark on the NSW Mid North Coast this week it was clear he’d bitten off more than he could chew.

Lee, friend of Fishing World photographer Shane Chalker who shot the accompanying images, was recovering after receiving 20 stitches in his left arm after the grey nurse lashed out at him last Sunday afternoon.

The Daily Telegraph reports Lee and his two sons, Solomon, 13, and Kelton, 8, had been trying to rescue the 1.6m shark from a lagoon south of Forster, where it had become trapped, about 3pm when things went dramatically awry.

“We thought it was a good idea at the time,” he explained yesterday after returning to the scene of the mishap.

“I had a lasso and we were trying to use that but that wasn’t working, so then I tried to grab its tail and drag it onto the sand because I’d seen that done before but that didn’t work either.”

“So I figured I would jump on it and grab it. That’s when it bit me.”

“I had its two pectoral fins and I’ve sort of lifted it out of the water but before I could do anything else it managed to spin around and bite my arm.”

“My older son had the rope and he was meant to lasso it quickly but wasn’t quite quick enough I guess. I think he got a bit of a shock when it came out of the water and it was attached to the end of my arm.”

“I sort of reefed my arm out of the mouth of the shark, dropped it back into the water, looked around in disbelief and said: ‘Let’s give up’.”

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Ouch! The grey nurse shark’s bite marks. Image: Shane Chalker

After taking the obligatory photo as proof of his close encounter, Mr Otto, a tiler by trade, sought medical attention at a local hospital.

There were no hard feelings towards the shark when he revisited the scene with officers from the Department of Primary Industries, who plan to capture the shark and return it to the ocean.

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No hard feelings – Terry “Otto” Lee reflects on his GNS encounter. Images: Shane Chalker

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