Beaches were closed at Byron Bay for 24 hours.
Beaches were closed at Byron Bay for 24 hours.

Shark attack victim: ‘I thought I was going to die’

SHARK attack victim Sam Edwardes has spoken out about his close brush with death after a shark chomped through both his surfboard and his leg on Sunday morning, leaving him wondering if he would make it off the beach alive.

Sam and mate Dane were surfing out at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, on the weekend, when disaster struck, leaving Sam with a 30cm by 20cm chunk missing from his leg.

"The surf was quite good and I just paddled straight out there, Dane was about half a minute behind me," Mr Edwardes told Today.

"I just felt this thump into my leg, you can't imagine the feeling - it's a really intense hit - he latched onto my leg and really just clamped down on my leg and wouldn't let go."


Shark attack victim Sam Edwardes.
Shark attack victim Sam Edwardes.


Speaking from his hospital bed in Gold Coast University Hospital, he told Today how he somehow managed to get back on his board and paddle more than 100 metres to the shore, concerned only for his friend.

"I started paddling into the beach and I was a bit frantic, I was going as fast as I could - I just wanted to get to shore so Dane knew not to come out,"

"I looked down at my leg and saw a mighty hunk taken out of it and that's when I freaked out because I thought 'this is bad'.

"I just started looking up and my vision was starting to go and my breathing was starting to go - I thought I was going to die."

The bite was 30cm by 20cm and Mr Edwardes spoke of how he lost a lot of soft tissue blood.

"It missed any important arteries - I think I was incredibly lucky."

It wasn't his first run in with sharks though, with two of Mr Edwardes friends in his surf group having been attacked by sharks in the past - one of them tragically dying in 1999.

"Its uncanny - I don't know if other groups of men have had this many attacks," he said.

Mr Edwardes, who reportedly never called for help during the attack, instead swimming frantically to save his mate, told Today post interview that he thinks he will eventually get back out in the surf.