A popular grandmother and avid swimmer is recovering in hospital with her family by her side after surviving a horror shark attack on Monday morning.
A shark bit Pamela Cook, 64, on her leg, arms and hand while she was out for a regular morning swim in the waters off Beachport, a small seaside town in southeastern South Australia just before 8am.
In desperate scenes near Beachport Jetty, she screamed for help to bystanders who rushed to her aid as she struggled to get out of the water.
Maintenance worker Greg Rae was one of the first people on the scene and applied a tourniquet to Ms Cook’s leg.
“We heard the lady calling out for help,” he said.
“There was a couple of ladies running in and they were covered in a bit of blood and they mentioned a shark attack.
“We immediately just jumped in, went and grabbed our trauma gear and first aid equipment and then responded.
“I was the one who grabbed the gear, ran out quite far out on the jetty, probably a couple of hundred metres.”
Mr Rae said Ms Cook had wounds to her thigh and a cut on her hand.
“The big concern for me at the time was shock, so just keeping talking and keeping her assured she’s OK and we’ve got ambos coming.”
CFS volunteer Bob Grieve also raced to help Ms Cook.
“We thought it might have been a medical episode in the water,” he told The Adelaide Advertiser.
“It’s a shocking thing to happen.”
Mr Grieve said he helped to put Ms Cook in a spinal board.
“She had pressure bandages and tourniquets on and her husband was there,” he said.
Paramedics took Ms Cook to Mount Gambier hospital, about 85km from Beachport and about 385km south of Adelaide near the Victorian border.
She underwent emergency surgery at the hospital on Monday and was in a stable condition on Monday evening.
SA Health confirmed on Tuesday morning that Ms Cook remained in a stable condition.
The popular mother and grandmother has her family by her side at the hospital, including her husband Greg, who told the ABC while it might take “little baby steps”, his wife would one day return to the water to swim.
“She’ll want to get back out there. It’ll take time, but she’ll get back in there,” he said.
“It’ll take one person to go swimming, little baby steps.
“Pam’s doing well. She’s going to need time, that’s all.”
Ms Cook was swimming with local community group Beachport Sea Urchins and Slugs.
The swimmers meet every day at 7.30am at the town’s rotunda before dipping into the sea near the landmark jetty.
Ms Cook works at Beachport Hotel and a fellow employee said Ms Cook went swimming every day with her friends.
“They do it every day and they have done for 30 years,” he said.
“There has never ever been any kind of thing like this before.”
The beach was closed after the attack.
On Monday afternoon, SES volunteers set up drones to scour the waters for the shark, which is believed to be a juvenile great white.
SES pilots flew Phantom 4 drones 800m offshore and 500m north and south of the jetty to try to locate the shark.
An SA Police spokeswoman said on Tuesday morning the shark had not been sighted.
The attack comes just weeks after a shark attack at Port Macquarie in NSW left surfer Toby Begg fighting for his life in hospital.
It also follows the death in May of teacher Simon Baccanello, who was believed to have been killed by a shark while surfing at Walkers Rock near Ellison on South Australia’s west coast.
A witness claims he saw a shark drag Mr Baccanello underwater.