When Beachgoers Found A Wounded Shark, They Pried Open Its Jaws To Try And Pull The Hook Free

Dorothy Symonds was enjoying a stroll along one of her favorite beaches one day when she came across a shocking sight. On the shore, were two men wrestling with a shark. One man held on to the ferocious beast, while another reached between his jaws attempting to remove a fishing hook.

Warnbro is a suburb in the Australian city of Perth. The neighborhood sits on a sweeping bay that boasts a five-mile stretch of sandy beaches, looking out over the sparkling Indian Ocean. And given the idyllic nature of the coastline, it is a popular beauty spot among locals.

One Perth resident who enjoys Warnbro Beach is Dorothy Symonds. She had been going to the beach ever since she was small and had never feared swimming there – despite the deadly shark attacks that sometimes take place off that coastline.

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In January 2017 Symonds and her husband Andy had been walking along the beach enjoying the last of the evening sun. “We went down for some fish and chips. [And we] took the dog down there for a walk and to throw the ball, because it is the local dog beach,” she told news site WAToday at the time.

However, it was on that fairly routine outing that Symonds spotted some fishermen. And as she watched them, one of the group appeared to hook something quite large. “We thought he probably had a stingray,” Symonds revealed.

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However, the Warbro native couldn’t have been more wrong. The fishermen had, in fact, caught a shark that was at least five feet in length. Obviously, the sight of the fearsome creature emptied the beach of swimmers. But while everyone else was moving away from the shark, Symonds wanted a closer look.

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Symonds pulled out a camera and began filming the fisherman’s subsequent actions. In the footage, which she posted on Facebook in 2017, the Perth resident captures the four anglers as they struggle to free the shark while also keeping their limbs intact.

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One of the men holds the writhing shark between his legs as he and his companions attempt to untangle the creature. After cutting the beast loose, they splash it with water to help it breathe. Then one brave man drags it back out to sea where he helps the shark on its way.

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The capture of the shark by the fishermen and its subsequent release was a revelation for Symonds. “I’ve never seen a shark in real life before,” she explained to the PerthNow news site in 2017. However, little did Symonds know that this wouldn’t be the last time she’d witness such scenes.

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Just days after Symond’s footage went viral on social media, she returned to the beach. And amazingly, on that visit too, she stumbled across another shark that had been accidentally reeled in by fishermen. As a result, she had to see if this situation would pan out as well as the first.

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On this occasion, the shark the angler had captured was larger. This brute measured a mighty eight feet in length. And to make matters even more concerning, freeing this fish wouldn’t be as easy as simply cutting some fishing lines.

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That’s because, when the shark was caught, a fishing hook had impaled itself in the mouth of the creature. So in order to get it back into the ocean, the fishermen needed to reach between the beast’s ferocious jaws. Only then would they be able to remove the hook.

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Luckily for us, Symonds was once again on the scene to capture the delicate procedure. In the resulting footage, one man can be seen holding the shark’s jaws wide open. Meanwhile, a second guy pokes around inside the mouth – wisely using a metal pole to do so.

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Unfortunately, whatever progress the pair are making is scuppered a few moments later. That’s when a large wave arrives and forces the shark out of their grip. However, showing no concern for their own safety, the men refuse to give up. They grab the predator once more and continue with their rescue mission.

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The fishermen manage to prize the shark’s mouth open once more, reach inside and grab the line that’s connected to the hook. After some tugging and maneuvering with the pole, the men are finally able to free the shark. But that’s not the end of the rescue.

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Indeed, to ensure the shark’s safe passage back into the sea, one man grabs the fish by its tail and heaves it into the water. When the fisherman is about waist-deep into the ocean he lets the shark swim to freedom before returning to the beach with a spring in his step.

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Once again, when Symond’s footage landed online it took off in a big way. Her story was picked up by local and international press outlets alike. And many people have since marveled at the Aussie fishermen’s courageous actions in saving the two stranded sharks.

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While shark attacks are rare in Western Australia – the state in which Warnbro Beach sits – they do happen. Between the years 2000 and 2017, 15 people were killed by the fearsome creatures. Many of the deadly attacks occurred in the warmer climes of spring and summer, when the coast is littered with migrating humpback whales. Believe it or not, many shark species follow the gentle giants on their annual journey.

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However, with that said, the chances of an attack by a shark on a Perth beach are low. In 2014 Peter Sprivulis, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Western Australia, conducted research into how safe beachgoers were . In 2017 he told PerthNow, “Over summer, going to the beach, splashing near the shore is very, very low risk.”

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So while Symonds hoped to raise awareness of sharks with her videos, in 2017 she told PerthNow, “I don’t want to put people off going to the beach.” She added, “It is a beautiful beach. But people should be aware they are out there. It certainly gave me a shock.”

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