(SKY NEWS) – A woman was pulled into crocodile-infested waters in northwest Australia by a shark which bit her finger as she tried to feed it.
Melissa Brunning, 34, was on a yacht in the remote Kimberley region, some 1,553 miles north of Perth, when she tried to hand-feed up to four tawny nurse sharks swimming around her boat.
But one shark, which measured 6.6ft (just over 2m), sucked at her right index finger “like a Hoover” and pulled her into the water in Dugong Bay.
As well as the sharks, the bay is inhabited by saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 23ft (7m) long and weigh more than a ton.
Ms Brunning said she feared she would lose her finger.
“I think the shark was in shock as much as I was… the only way I can describe it is this immense pressure and it felt like it was shredding it off the bone,” she told The West Australian.
“I came up and I was like, ‘I’ve lost my finger, my finger’s gone’.”
Mobile phone footage of the incident, which happened last month, shows Ms Brunning screaming as she is dragged into the water, before the boat’s crew and friends pull her out.
She sustained cuts, a fracture, a torn ligament and a bad infection, but miraculously did not lose the digit.
She said: “It’s not the shark’s fault at all, but it could have been a lot worse.”
Ms Brunning said the incident had taught her to “respect marine life, and look at it in awe, but just leave them alone”.
She said she did not realise she should have left the piece of fish she was using to feed the sharks in front of her, rather than trying to hand-feed them.
“When you’re in the water, they’re top of the food chain, it’s their domain,” she said. “We’re not meant to be in the water, if we were we’d have gills.”