A 35-year-old windsurfer from Valletta has recounted how he clung to his windsurfer last Saturday as a three-metre shark circled it for three quarters of an hour.
David Bonavia said that this was the first time in 16 years of windsurfing that he had seen a shark, although he had seen sharks while he was safely in a boat.
Mr Bonavia said he was off Fort St Elmo when he noticed a fin next to his windsurfer and he fell into the sea in panic. He quickly scrambled back onto his board and then could see that the fin belonged to a shark. It kept circling the board for about 45 minutes.
His initial efforts to wave for help were unsuccessful and he was also unable to pull up his sail because of the strong wind.
Suddenly the shark charged into the sail and bit a piece off, he said.
He then used a metal hook on his harness to hit the fish the next time it came near. The shark then started keeping its distance.
Eventually Mr Bonavia said, he managed to wave down a tourist boat which alerted the AFM and he was rescued by a launch and treated for severe shock in hospital.
Mr Bonavia urged other wind surfers to keep a proper lookout.
He does not intend to return to windsurfing 'for now'.
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