The incident happened as the boy, aged 10, was fishing with his father at sea off the island of Tasmania. The boy’s father immediately jumped into the water after his son. The shark then released the boy from its powerful jaws and the father was able to pull his son back into the boat.
The boy had cuts to his head, body, and arms from the razor-sharp teeth of the great white.
Tasmanian police put out a warning of a “large shark” in waters close to where the incident happened.
The boy had a life jacket on and officials say this may have helped keep him buoyant so the shark was unable to pull him under.
Tasmanian police added: “Whilst this has been an extraordinary event, it highlights the importance of wearing a well maintained and correctly fitted lifejacket as that, combined with the bravery of his father, helped save the boy’s life.
“This has been a traumatic event for the boy and his family, and they are thankful for the continued privacy they are being afforded to enable their son to fully recover.”
Marine scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO, said the shark may have been over 3.7 meters in length.
Australian shark expert Chris Black told ABC the attack was a “freak incident”.
He added the shark may have not have wanted to consume the boy, but was more likely curious.
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“We’re not part of their normal diet.”
Reported shark attacks are extremely rare.
Sharks prefer their traditional prey such as seals or other marine species.
But, every year many people go missing at sea with their bodies never found, it is unknown whether these people are consumed by sharks.
The great white has no natural predator other than humans and the occasional killer whale.
The number of great white sharks has declined worldwide since the 1970s.