"My instincts took over and I just grabbed the shark by the tail," says Paul Marshallsea. Photo: Nine Network Video Footage
A Welsh holidaymaker has made international headlines after dragging a two-metre shark from shallow waters where young children and toddlers were swimming at a popular Sunshine Coast beach.
Paul Marshallsea, from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, was enjoying a barbecue with his wife Wendy, 56, and daughter Rachel, 21, at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, on Saturday afternoon when he heard cries of "Shark!".
He ran to the shoreline where he says his paternal instincts kicked in.
With two other men, the 62-year-old grandfather grabbed the two-metre shark, believed to be a dusky whaler, by the tail and tried to drag it out to deeper water.
"Where this shark actually came ashore, it is shallow for about five or six yards, and a lot of babies and toddlers splash about there - it could have been very nasty," he later told the BBC.
"My instincts took over and I just grabbed the shark by the tail."
Mr Marshallsea said he narrowly missed being bitten by the shark.
"When I got the shark to just over knee deep [water] he turned on me and just missed me with a bite," he said.
"The shark nearly took my leg off in a split second - it was that quick."
With the dramatic scene caught on film by a Channel 9 news team, British press promptly hailed Mr Marshallsea a hero.
However, wildlife carer Terry Doyle, who also tried to turn the shark away from shore, said he believed the animal that appeared sluggish in the water might have been dying.
"I think he's dying, I think there's something wrong with him," he told Channel 9.
Lifesavers on jet skis eventually managed to lead the shark into the protected waters of a nearby creek, hoping the animal would return to the ocean on the outgoing tide.
Dusky whalers, which belong to the same whaler family as the bull shark, grow up to four metres long and are known to be dangerous to humans. Their slender bodies feature pale stripes on the flanks and dusky tips on the fins.
There are shark nets along 85 Queensland beaches at a cost of $2.3 million to the state government each year.
There has been only one shark fatality at these beaches since the netting program was rolled out.