John Pengelly, 19, in the Royal brisbane Hospital showing his heavily bandaged arm.
John Pengelly, 19, in the Royal brisbane Hospital showing his heavily bandaged arm.

Crew 'denied' shark victim help

JOHN Pengelly, 19, is said to have been refused help by a nearby charter boat after he was the victim of a shark bite.

The freediving champion suffered deep lacerations to his hand and wrist after the shark struck at Lamont Reef on Sunday morning.

Badly bleeding, Mr Pengelly’s two fellow spearfishing companions used spare shirts as a tourniquet. Nat Keene told The Observer the trio approached a nearby larger fishing boat for assistance but were refused.

“We tried to render assistance, but they flat out refused,” Mr Keene said.

While the boat did radio authorities they refused to take the trio to shore.

“It’s the unwritten law of the ocean – if someone’s in trouble you help them,” Mr Keene said.

It took the trio almost half-an-hour to reach Heron Island in their smaller vessel, which Mr Keene said could have been halved with the larger boat’s assistance.

Mr Keene said he could forgive the shark as “it was just doing its job” but was appalled by the lack of assistance from the larger vessel.

“It’s disgusting that they wouldn’t stop fishing even to help someone who was obviously in a fair bit of trouble,” Mr Keene said.

“He lost a fair bit of blood on the boat trip,” said fellow spearfisher David Jenson.

“They had to give him a litre of fluid on Heron Island.”

Mr Keene said the water police were investigating the incident but at the time of print they could not be reached for comment.

Despite his ordeal, Mr Pengelly told his spearfishing partners that he was keen to get back in the water as soon as he could.

“One of the things he said to me was ‘hopefully it will be good weather next weekend so we can get back out there’,” Mr Keene said.

“He’s pretty keen to get back in the water.”

Mr Pengelly told AAP he had no hard feelings towards the bull shark.

“We’re divers in their waters (and) if he wanted to eat me he would have,” he said.

“It was just an inquiry bite ... I’d be out today if I could.”

The 19-year-old’s father, Graham Pengelly, told The Observer John had undergone micro-surgery on his injured hand.

His injuries included severed tendons, arteries and bone damage.

Mr Pengelly said it was too early too tell whether his son would regain full usage of his hand.

“It’s just a matter of trying to get back to normal,” he said.



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