Mount Compass girl Sarah Williams, 15, had a brush with death when she came within 10 centimetres of a five-metre great white shark, just 200 metres off the shore at Normanville on Sunday, October 22.
The teenager narrowly survived the close encounter when her older brother Mitchell Williams pulled her from the water, just inches from the great white.
Sarah was squid fishing with her family when the shark attacked the kayak at about 1.15pm, launching her into the air and back into the water within arms reach of the shark.
“When I was under the water, I saw the shark’s fin and it’s back tail but it all happened so quickly I don’t remember it very well,” Sarah said.
“It’s still so surreal, I feel very lucky and I’m surprised I got out.”
Her brother Mitchell said he could have touched the shark it was that close when he pulled his sister to safety.
“Sarah was launched out of the kayak and the shark came out of the water at the same time and landed on the kayak.
“It was 10 centimetres from her legs... we ran the boat into the shark and managed to pull her up over the top of it.
“I was so close I could have touched it (the shark) and Sarah said she felt it… it was like something out of a horror movie,” he said.
He said the bite marks on the kayak showed it was a “big shark”.
Sarah’s father Chris Williams, who was driving the boat Sarah was pulled in to, said the shark was so aggressive, he could tell it wanted to eat the kayak or Sarah or both.
“The shark was still thrashing about after we got Sarah out and followed us around so I screamed to Adrienne (his wife who was also kayaking nearby) to get back to the beach,” he said.
Chris said if the rescue had taken just a second longer, Sarah could have died.
“We still can’t believe we got her out, that’s how close it was… we had a window of 10 seconds to stop her from losing her legs or being killed,” he said.
He said his family would never take their kayaks into the sea again.
“I don’t want anyone to endure what we went through, or what Sarah went through… who knows how long this will psychologically affect her for,” he said.
“This incident will have a lasting effect on our family and our friends.”
While he did not condone culling sharks, Chris questioned how the authorities could allow a shark to “menace the population”.
“It really scared me how big and aggressive the shark was… it will probably kill someone before anything is done about it,” he said.
“Anyone who protects these aggressive sharks has never had to pull their child from a scenario that could have killed them.”
He said he was concerned about what the incident would do to tourism at Normanville and the entire Fleurieu Peninsula.
“What does something like this do for Normanville, there’s no one in the water there today,” he said.
“And now the Victor council want a Tuna Pen... how ridiculous.”
His message for the public was to be more careful entering local waters.
“We couldn’t have been more provoked… I think this is a rogue shark and it’s very dangerous,” he said.
Sarah said she would not rule out getting back into the water in the future, but would steer clear for some time.