A 34-year-old Sunderland diver was forced to make an epic four-and-a-half mile swim to the safety of shore after he surfaced from a spearfishing dive off Shark Bay in western Australia and couldn’t see his boat.
To make the situation even more interesting, experienced diver John Craig – who moved to Australia two years ago – was also ‘escorted’ for part of his long solo swim by a four-metre tiger shark.
He had been spearfishing from a friend’s boat on Friday, but when he surfaced, he couldn’t see the vessel. He later learned there had been a mechanical issue.
After realising that help would not be arriving any time soon, and being circled by the curious shark, he spotted a cliff in the distance on the horizon – which turned out to be Francois Perron National Park – and decided to make a swim for it. The shark followed him for some 15 minutes before disappearing, and it took him a further three hours to reach land. He could see that an air and sea search was underway, but was unable to attract their attention, so he was forced to walk for 30 minutes before a plane finally spotted him.
The relieved diver was reunited with his wife on one of the rescue vessels, and was quick to praise the rapid response of the authorities in getting a search up and running.