Swan River shark attack victim Cameron Wrathall recounts his terrifying ordeal
Cameron Wrathall is lucky to be alive.
His injuries from a shark attack are so severe, he can’t walk because his sciatic nerve has been severed in two places.
But he’s tough and now he’s ready to tell his story.
The Bicton father was attacked by a bull shark in the Swan River and he’s spoken for the first time about how he nearly died.
54-year-old Wrathall said the shark was big – almost three metres – and attacked him with such force that it broke his hip.
He spoke to 7NEWS from his Royal Perth Hospital bed.
Wrathall explained that after fighting off the shark while in the water at Blackwall Reach, he swam a hundred metres to shore, as his blood poured out.
“The shark hit me really hard, it’s the biggest impact I’ve ever felt of something hitting me. It was then trying to shake from side to side to tear part of me away,” he said.
“It all happened very quickly, and I just did a kick onto part of it and a thrust down on my hands to push it off me – and hit it pretty hard with the palms of my hands, and it went.”
Wrathall’s hip was broken, one leg was paralysed, and he had gaping bite wounds from his groin to his buttocks.
“In the ambulance, I did die, most likely from blood loss, and I’m very thankful to the ambulance officers for bringing me back,” he said.
His friend and fellow swimmer Richard O’Brien saved his life with two kayakers who stopped blood flow with a makeshift tourniquet.
“I just saw the tail and the body in the river, then blood covered everything,” O’Brien said.
Wrathall nearly died in the hospital too.
He was unconscious for two days with multiple operations as trauma surgeons fought to save him.
“I’m very happy to be here and I can’t thank you enough for all you and the people in this hospital have done for me,” he said.
His two daughters, Cian and Keely believe his positive attitude saved him.
Ironically Cameron used to swim in the ocean off Cottesloe but switched to the river to avoid sharks.