James Grant was likely attacked by a broadnosed sevengill shark like this one. (Photo: José María Pérez Nuñez/Wikimedia commons)
James Grant was out spearfishing with friends near Colac Bay off the coast of New Zealand's South Island Saturday when, standing in two feet of murky water, he felt a tug at his leg. Grant turned around to see whether it was one of his friends playing a trick. It wasn't.
"I looked behind to see who it was and got a bit of a shock," he told Radio New Zealand.
He never saw the shark that bit him, but he started stabbing around behind to get it off him. "I am not sure how effective it was," he said. "I guess it let go so something must have happened, put a few nicks in it."
Grant made his way back to shore, took off his wetsuit, and found the wound, which was about five centimetres long (he credited his neoprene wetsuit for keeping the puncture relatively minor). He tried to warn his friends, but they were busy spearfishing and didn't take him seriously.
"I thought surely he hasn't been bitten, there's no way he has been bitten, he's got to be taking the piss," said Mackley Lindsay, one of Grant's friends.
Although Grant never saw his attacker, New Zealand Department of Conservation shark specialist Clinton Duffy says he believes it was probably a broadnosed sevengill shark, which can grow up to three metres long and has been known to attack humans off the New Zealand coast.
Alone on the shore, Grant, a 24-year-old doctor, stitched himself up using a needle and thread from the first aid kit he kept in his car. When the rest of the group came back to land, they went to the local Colac Bay Tavern for a pint of beer, where Grant was given a bandage to stop the blood from dripping on the floor. After the beer, Grant went to Southland Hospital — where he works — to finish getting stitched up.