St Ives fisherman stares into the jaws of 7ft killer shark off Cornwall coast
Last updated at 8:34 AM on 14th June 2011
As the fin broke the water’s surface and began zig-zagging towards him, fisherman Ian Bullus felt more curious than fearful.
That was until a 7ft shark rammed itself into the side of his boat, its head rearing up out of the water.
Thankfully for Mr Bullus, who had been fishing for mackerel off St Ives in Cornwall, the beast then swam off.
Man-eater: A Oceanic White Tip shark, similar to the creature that is feared to be prowling the waters off West Cornwall
Experts yesterday suggested he had come face to face with an oceanic whitetip – a shark with the worst reputation for man-eating in the world.
They are said to be responsible for more fatal attacks on humans than all other types combined, including the Great White of Jaws legend.
grisly title was won largely because whitetips are believed to have
killed up to 800 sailors after the torpedoing of USS Indianapolis in
is the first oceanic whitetip spotted in British waters, which are
generally too cold for their liking. Their natural habitat is tropical
Shark experts believe there is a chance it strayed from the southern Bay of Biscay, more than 200 miles away, where they are common. They also say whitetips follow fishing boats looking for food.
It was a fortnight ago that Mr Bullus, 59, encountered the shark on his 16ft wooden fishing boat Dreamcatcher a mile off the St Ives coast.
Fishermen on another boat reported a similar shark circling their boat on the same day, but both sightings were only made public yesterday.
Reliving the drama, Mr Bullus said: ‘As I was looking over the side of the boat, it just slammed into it.
‘Then its head came out of the water by about a foot. It was that close to the boat that it slammed the side of the boat with its body and tail.
‘It came as a bit of a shock. It was aggressive and we don’t tend to have aggressive sharks in these waters.
‘I’ve been fishing in these waters all my life and I have seen all sorts, but I have never had a shark ram my boat. If I had been in a kayak it could have easily had a bite at my legs.’
He warned the nearest boat about the shark and then returned to St Ives where he reported the drama to the harbour master.
The sighting has inevitably led to some panic in the seaside town, a magnet for tourists.
‘Word is spreading, people are worrying more and it is going to put tourists off wanting to come here,’ said harbourmaster Steve Bassett.
In the event of a shark being spotted near the beach, RNLI lifeguards will tell all swimmers to leave the water and close the beach.
Town in terror: There have been two sightings of the man eater of the coast of the Cornish town of St Ives
The Mayor of St Ives, Ron Tulley, said: ‘There is no immediate danger. No one has ever been injured by a shark in St Ives. I don’t want it to put people off coming to St Ives.’
Shark experts, however, are delighted at the prospect of a new species in our waters.
Richard Peirce, chairman of The Shark Trust, said: ‘Elements of the description we’ve heard are consistent with oceanic whitetips.
‘Were this to be confirmed, I would personally be delighted and go there with my diving gear and underwater camera hoping to find it.’
Share this article:
Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below, or debate this issue live on our message boards.
The comments below have not been moderated.
The Mayor of St Ives, Ron Tulley, said: ‘There is no immediate danger. No one has ever been injured by a shark in St Ives. I don’t want it to put people off coming to St Ives.' ..................................Didn't the Mayor of Amityville Island say exactly the same thing?!
- Minky, UK, 14/6/2011 13:05
Hush up everyone... hey chavs, go for swim in ST Ives...
- An Insult to Mediocrity, UK, 14/6/2011 13:01
Hopefully they will be extinct in a few years and the sea will be a safer place.. - tumblety, surrey,uk, 14/6/2011 09:33 Funny -that's exactly what they say about you. As sharks have been around for some 400 million years my money is one them.
- Bernard, Edinburgh Scotland, 14/6/2011 12:44
Wow! and I didn't see one shark in Australia last month!
- It's me., in Cornwall, 14/6/2011 12:21
Obviously one of Cameron's mates circling the NHS.
- snidely, London, 14/6/2011 11:16
Hopefully they will be extinct in a few years and the sea will be a safer place..
- tumblety, surrey,uk, 14/6/2011 09:33
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.