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Shouting under water at a shark helps with sea rescue

Year 1962

Read by Paul Roe – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Jorgensen, Graham Morris, (27), Engineer

Stanhope Gold Medal 1962
Case submitted by Royal Humane Society of Australasia

Just after Christmas 1961 (28th December 1961) a party went swimming at Lamberts Beach, Queensland.

Two young people, an eighteen years old girl and a twenty-four years old man were frolicking in 2-3 feet of water 6-7 yards from the shore. Mr Graham Morris Jorgensen sat on the beach watching. Suddenly, without warning a shark attacked. The shark severed the young man’s right hand and forearm and then went for the girl, biting both her arms off and mauling her right leg so badly it had to be amputated.

Mr Jorgensen did not hesitate. He dashed into the sea, beating on the water, and at the shark. He put his head under the water and shouted. The shark withdrew some distance. Jorgensen was then able to get the two young people out of the water. The girl died some time later in hospital.

When submitting this case the Society’s Secretary made the following observation – There are several books on skin diving, notably those by Hans Hass, which refer to shouting under water as a possible means of scaring sharks, and we understand from people who have had considerable experience of surfing and life-saving, that it is possible but not a certain method of scaring the shark.

Jorgensen also awarded the Clarke Medal in Gold of the RHSA.

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