Bitten by a great white shark: survivors on their near-death experience

Human reactions to shark attacks have fascinated Fiona Adolph for more than a decade. Here she examines a global hotspot, Western Australia

On a whisper-still January dawn, the most terrifying day of Allan Oppert’s life began unremarkably and with a feeling of deep calm.

Like most Sundays, he woke to a knock on the door from his friends Dan and Dave. At Allan’s neat house in the small seaside town of Binningup, in the south-west corner of Western Australia, the three men drank strong coffee before towing Allan’s boat to a nearby ramp where three friends were launching another vessel. The two groups were heading out on the ocean together, a familiar arrangement aimed at ensuring safety.

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Source: theguardian