Sussex surfer survives shark attack by punching great white in the face

The Argus: Sussex surfer survives shark attack by punching great white in the face Sussex surfer survives shark attack by punching great white in the face

A former Sussex man fought off a great white shark by punching it in the face as it mauled him out at sea.

Darren Mills was waiting to catch a wave while surfing in New Zealand when the 10ft beast sunk its teeth into his leg.

With just seconds to save himself from being dragged under, the 28-year-old, originally from Crawley, aimed a jab at the shark before swimming to safety.

Speaking from his hospital bed to New Zealand's One News, he told how he felt a “big thump” before turning to see the shark “clamp down” on his leg.

He said: "I just feel really, really lucky. Really lucky".

The budding surfer was out with friends in Propoise Bay in the country's South Island on Friday.

He said: “I was paddling back across the back of the surf and felt a big thump from the shore side.

“I looked round and saw the shark clamp down.

“It pushed me out and around a wee bit . I sort or realised what was going on and could see it and tried to punch it.”

His friends caught the next wave to the beach but Darren was left stranded and bleeding heavily, 50 yards out.

Fighting back the tears, he recounted: “I was pretty scared it was going to come back. It was just really scary.”

Finally dragging himself to safety, his partner and friends rushed to his aid and the air ambulance was called.

Local surf school owner, Nick Smart, who was just 100 yards from the attack, told how he Mr Mills was bleeding heavily and “not saying much”.

“He was in a lot of pain,” he said.

“We rushed to give him blankets and there was a doctor holidaying on the beach who also helped.

“I could see a cut in his wetsuit. It looked to be a 10cm gash in one leg.

“I've surfed the bay thousands of times and done thousands of instructions and thought it was as safe as a church.”

The air ambulance flew Mr Mills to Invergargill's Southland Hospital where he was treated for a deep gash, which had gone through a tendon.

He also had four further cuts to the top of his leg.

In an ironic twist, just days earlier Mr Mills took a ride in a submersible shark simulator for a tourism promotion.

He added: “It was pretty crazy.

“When it first happened I said I'm not even getting in the bath tub again.”

Mr Mills, who moved Queenstown from Sussex, took to Facebook yesterday to thank those who saved his life.

He said: “Just want to say thanks to everyone for your support and especially some people I didn't know at the beach, my friends and amazing girlfriend who were all there to help me through Friday evening. It was the scariest day of my life, thank you so much x.”

His friends from both home and abroad also took to social media to wish him well.

Alex Bowell, said: “What a hero mate. See you in a few weeks to feed you grapes and carry you through town as the boy who beat up a great white.”

Comments (16)

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6:17am Mon 10 Feb 14

twonk says...

In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer?
In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer? twonk

7:50am Mon 10 Feb 14

monkeymoo says...

Wow...Cant believe the tenuous link to Sussex.

Once again, The Argus show's its pathetic side of journalism!
Wow...Cant believe the tenuous link to Sussex. Once again, The Argus show's its pathetic side of journalism! monkeymoo

8:01am Mon 10 Feb 14

worthingite says...

Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East
bourne,Worthing,Chic
hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters!
Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East bourne,Worthing,Chic hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters! worthingite

8:18am Mon 10 Feb 14

Quiterie says...

Not quite as impressive as the New Zealander who recently stabbed a shark with a knife to get free, swims ashore, stiches up his wounds himself and then goes to pub for a beer.........
Not quite as impressive as the New Zealander who recently stabbed a shark with a knife to get free, swims ashore, stiches up his wounds himself and then goes to pub for a beer......... Quiterie

8:20am Mon 10 Feb 14

All 9 of me says...

Propoise beach, which New Zealand is that in ? ...Another shambolic composition to be proud of
Propoise beach, which New Zealand is that in ? ...Another shambolic composition to be proud of All 9 of me

9:13am Mon 10 Feb 14

Tailgaters Anonymous says...

'Former' might have helped with the link!
..and Propoise - yawn, probably is weird connected thinking to flooding, water, sea, sharks...zzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzz
'Former' might have helped with the link! ..and Propoise - yawn, probably is weird connected thinking to flooding, water, sea, sharks...zzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzz Tailgaters Anonymous

11:03am Mon 10 Feb 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

It's Porpoise Bay - that's a type of mammal - come on Argus reporters, stand up, shake your heads and get out and report properly!!!!!!!

Shark Attack News reports "The 28-year-old victim was on his board approximately 50m from the beach when he was attacked Friday evening at around 8:20pm. He sustained three bite wounds to his leg ranging from his calf to his thigh"
It's Porpoise Bay - that's a type of mammal - come on Argus reporters, stand up, shake your heads and get out and report properly!!!!!!! Shark Attack News reports "The 28-year-old victim was on his board approximately 50m from the beach when he was attacked Friday evening at around 8:20pm. He sustained three bite wounds to his leg ranging from his calf to his thigh" getThisCoalitionOut

12:10pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Levent says...

twonk wrote:
In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer?
Because he was originally from Crawley, which just happens to be a part of Sussex, and he also surfs. Not the hardest jigsaw assemble is it?
[quote][p][bold]twonk[/bold] wrote: In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer?[/p][/quote]Because he was originally from Crawley, which just happens to be a part of Sussex, and he also surfs. Not the hardest jigsaw assemble is it? Levent

1:08pm Mon 10 Feb 14

twonk says...

Levent wrote:
twonk wrote:
In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer?
Because he was originally from Crawley, which just happens to be a part of Sussex, and he also surfs. Not the hardest jigsaw assemble is it?
But you are assuming that he even surfed off Sussex. Perhaps he learnt in New Zealand.
[quote][p][bold]Levent[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]twonk[/bold] wrote: In what way could he be described as a Sussex Surfer?[/p][/quote]Because he was originally from Crawley, which just happens to be a part of Sussex, and he also surfs. Not the hardest jigsaw assemble is it?[/p][/quote]But you are assuming that he even surfed off Sussex. Perhaps he learnt in New Zealand. twonk

1:13pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Number Six says...

worthingite wrote:
Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East

bourne,Worthing,Chic

hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters!
No, it's a Sussex paper and always gas been. Have a proper look around the website, you'll see section for different areas.

That said, I don't see the point of a story about a shark attacking a man who doesn't live in Crawley. Then again, being attacked by a shark is preferable to living in some parts of Crawley
[quote][p][bold]worthingite[/bold] wrote: Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East bourne,Worthing,Chic hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters![/p][/quote]No, it's a Sussex paper and always gas been. Have a proper look around the website, you'll see section for different areas. That said, I don't see the point of a story about a shark attacking a man who doesn't live in Crawley. Then again, being attacked by a shark is preferable to living in some parts of Crawley Number Six

4:56pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Baldseagull says...

Number Six wrote:
worthingite wrote:
Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East


bourne,Worthing,Chic


hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters!
No, it's a Sussex paper and always gas been. Have a proper look around the website, you'll see section for different areas.

That said, I don't see the point of a story about a shark attacking a man who doesn't live in Crawley. Then again, being attacked by a shark is preferable to living in some parts of Crawley
I love this perception of Crawley that the rest of Sussex has, keeps the worst of the snobs out.
[quote][p][bold]Number Six[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]worthingite[/bold] wrote: Ha ha -this paper does not know whether its coming or going,its a Brighton paper,why do you bother with Crawley,Bexhill,East bourne,Worthing,Chic hester or Hastings,they have their own papers,surely there must be enough news in Brighton.These far flung areas of the county have never ever heard of the Argus and think you sell toasters![/p][/quote]No, it's a Sussex paper and always gas been. Have a proper look around the website, you'll see section for different areas. That said, I don't see the point of a story about a shark attacking a man who doesn't live in Crawley. Then again, being attacked by a shark is preferable to living in some parts of Crawley[/p][/quote]I love this perception of Crawley that the rest of Sussex has, keeps the worst of the snobs out. Baldseagull

6:10pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Goldenwight says...

Well I blame the greens, anyway!
Well I blame the greens, anyway! Goldenwight

9:37pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Dave At Home says...

and there was me looking for an exciting story about a great white of the Brighton Beach.... still haven't learnt how the Argus report their stories....
and there was me looking for an exciting story about a great white of the Brighton Beach.... still haven't learnt how the Argus report their stories.... Dave At Home

10:13pm Mon 10 Feb 14

ttt121orig says...

You know what, its wayward and incompetent journalism like this that keeps me staying a member with the argus.
They are just a calamity of errors.
You know what, its wayward and incompetent journalism like this that keeps me staying a member with the argus. They are just a calamity of errors. ttt121orig

9:41am Tue 11 Feb 14

Take it Personally says...

You have to ask though, why does the shark get HIS photo in the paper and not the guy? There are plenty of pictures of him in other papers. (and he's gorgeous -the surfer, not the shark)
You have to ask though, why does the shark get HIS photo in the paper and not the guy? There are plenty of pictures of him in other papers. (and he's gorgeous -the surfer, not the shark) Take it Personally

1:19am Wed 12 Feb 14

melee says...

He must be thrilled to get in the Argus. I just hope it doesn't encourage other sharks to commit copycat crimes in the pursuit of fame and fortune.
He must be thrilled to get in the Argus. I just hope it doesn't encourage other sharks to commit copycat crimes in the pursuit of fame and fortune. melee

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