World’s scariest shark attacks from young mum ripped in half to groom killed

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Scary sharks are currently invading British shores.

As we reported this week, our coast is seeing more of the mighty fish due to reduced marine traffic during lockdown.

There have been multiple sightings, with people spotting the porbeagle and basking sharks closer to the shores than usual.

And while attacks are rare, one Irish fisherman was recently almost dragged into the water by a shark while kayaking – but luckily he escaped injury after being pulled out of the sea.

But others weren’t so fortunate. Here we take a closer look at some of the scariest shark attacks in history.

His entire abdomen torn

The survivor of one of the world’s worst non-fatal shark attacks, Rodney Fox, then 23, was taking part in the 1963 South Australia Spearfishing Championship at Aldinga Beach when he was attacked by a great white.

His entire abdomen was ripped open and left fully exposed, with all his ribs broken on his left hand side.

Rodney’s spleen and lungs were also left uncovered and ripped, and he was minutes away from all of his veins collapsing due to the loss of so much blood.

He required 462 stitches after the attack and to this day still has a shark tooth embedded in his wrist.

Remarkably, Rodney – now aged 80 – has gone on to become a major great white expert, and he has even designed and built the first underwater observation cage to dive with his attackers.

Young mum ripped in half

  • Massive 12ft shark spotted swimming in UK harbour by terrified tourists

Among the most horrifying shark attacks in history, the case of Shirley Ann Durdin remains one of the few incidences where a great white shark killed and ate a human.

Young mother-of-four Shirley had taken her family to Peake Bay in Australia for a day out in 1985 when she was attacked while swimming in shallow waters.

The 20ft-long great white reportedly ripped Shirley, 33, in half with just one bite as her children and ­husband looked on in horror. All that was left was her headless torso floating in the water but as rescuers turned up to the scene, the beast returned and ­devoured that too.

Usually, great whites aren’t interested in swallowing human flesh once they’ve realised that’s what it is, which makes Shirley’s case even more shocking.

Four people killed in 12 days

  • Lone kayaker surrounded by five basking sharks off UK coast in 'thrilling experience'

Between July 1 and 12, 1916, four people were killed and one was injured along the coast of New Jersey in the US.

The first attack happened when holidaymaker Charles Epting Vansant, 25, took a dip in the Atlantic ocean.

His left thigh was stripped of its flesh and he bled to death on the manager’s desk of the hotel where he was staying.

The other victims were 27-year-old hotel worker Charles Bruder, an 11-year-old local boy called Lester Stillwell who was playing in a creek with friends when he was attacked, and businessman Stanley Fisher, 24, who was killed while attempting to rescue Lester.

Joseph Dunn, 14, survived his attack.

It was claimed a great white shark, pictured, that was later caught by the fishermen, was behind the fatalities after human bones were reportedly found in its gut.

Teenager surfer mauled by beast

  • Shark drags fisherman overboard and capsizes kayak in terrifying footage

Elio Canestri was a 13-year-old surfing champion whose life was tragically cut short in 2015 when he was killed by an 8ft bull shark – believed to be the most deadly ­species to humans.

He was surfing with ­seven others off the coast of Réunion Island near Madagascar when the shark sunk its teeth into Elio’s stomach and flung him around the water as he prepared to ride a wave.

Hours before the tragedy took place, Elio had left his mother a note telling her not to worry about him.

The area around Réunion is one of the most shark-infested in the world, with 27 fatal attacks and 56 encounters in total since records began in 1913.

There have since been calls for the island’s government to introduce a cull of sharks.

Groom killed on his honeymoon

  • British beaches 'face huge invasion of sharks' due to quieter waters in lockdown

In August 2011, newlyweds Ian Redmond and Gemma Houghton were enjoying their honeymoon in the Seychelles when they decided to go snorkelling.

They were reassured there were no sharks in the waters, but while Ian was swimming in the shallow waters off Anse Lazio beach he was attacked by one.

He was quickly brought to shore, but died of massive blood loss as his horrified wife looked on.

It was then revealed that a 36-year-old French tourist had also been killed by a shark just two weeks before the tragedy.

Speaking at the inquest into Ian’s death at Bolton Coroner’s Court in 2012, Gemma – who had been married to Ian for just 10 days at the time of the attack – paid tribute to his “special qualities”.

Hundreds eaten alive


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In July 1945, more than 1,000 US servicemen were thrown to the mercy of the Pacific Ocean’s sharks when their warship the USS Indianapolis was hit by Japanese torpedoes.

During a four-day period, 579 men lost their lives to the beasts, before a friendly bomber plane found and rescued the survivors who had miraculously escaped being attacked.

Survivor Edgar Harrell, who was 20 at the time, recalled the horrific experience saying: “All we heard was men being eaten alive.

“Every day, every night. You’d find your buddy and check him and find that he’s disembowelled, or the bottom was gone.”

The disaster has since become infamous as the worst shark attack in history.

It inspired the character of Quint in the film Jaws, who said he had survived the event.

  • Sharks
  • Great White Shark
  • Animals

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