A "once-in-a-lifetime" trip in May for a woman in Australia quickly turned into a harrowing experience when she suffered a bite while feeding a shark, which then dragged her into the water.
A Perth woman, Melissa Brunning, 34, was on a holiday in the north of Western Australia at the remote Dugong Bay when she tried to hand-feed a Tawney Nurse shark.
Her friends were able to pull her back onto the boat.
The Tawny Nurse shark is usually considered a relatively calm and docile species.
The two-metre (6.6-foot) creature, which has strong jaws and rows of sharp teeth, sucked at her right index finger "like a Hoover (vacuum cleaner)", she told The West Australian late Saturday. "It clamped on it and it was shredding off the bone", said Brunning. The finger was also badly infected, The West Australian reported, and Brunning had to undergo surgery to flush out the infection.
Despite the excruciating pain, Brunning's finger wasn't bitten off.
Don't feed sharks. And be mindful of your surroundings.
"I came up and I said I've lost my finger and I couldn't even look at my finger because I thought it was gone, and I thought if I looked at it I'd probably go into shock".
"I'm not a shark victim", Brunning said.
Melissa says she was "lucky" and wants people to know that the shark bite incident was "completely my fault". I have full respect for sharks, I think they're incredible.
"When you're in the water, they're top of the food chain, it's their domain", she said.
She is still taking antibiotics after having surgery to fix her broken finger and said she has learnt to 'respect marine life and look at it in awe but just leave them alone'.
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