Former Kilmore fisherman is shark attack hero
Published 24/09/2016 | 00:00
A former Kilmore Quay fisherman has been put forward for a bravery award after saving the life of one of his friends attacked by a great white shark off the Australian coast.
Shane De Roiste, from Bellary, Duncormick, and his friend Dale Carr were surfing 200m from shore when a great white bit into Dale's thigh and backside.
The father-of-two was mauled to within an inch of his life, but thanks to Shane, he survived.
To honour his friend, Dale put him forward for a Pride of Australia nomination.
'When I first saw the fin, I thought it was a dolphin,' said Shane, the son of Margaret and Dermot Roche.
'Dale actually shouted shark straight away.
'I guess being from Wexford I didn't comprehend what a shark can do so quickly,' the former Kimore fisherman said of the attack which took place in August, 2015.
'It was an intense and ferocious attack. It really is like you see in the Jaws movies; the person is just shaken around in the water.'
Dale screamed at Shane to get out of the water, but Shane said he couldn't leave his friend.
'I just swam towards him to see what I could do. Dale had been punching the shark but it was like hitting a brick wall. He then cleverly jammed his thumb in the shark's eye, and the shark swam away,' he said.
Somehow, Dale's body board remained intact and Shane linked the two together and paddled them back to shore, where he used his friend's shoelaces to hold his leg together to prevent more blood loss.
Despite this Dale lost 2.5 litres of blood that day and stopped breathing twice in hospital.
'We're blessed as in that we have the best hospital in Australia, right up the road from where it happened. The surgeons are second to none."
Shane, who worked for a period at Clayton Whites, studied health and fitness at DCU, worked as a painter with Colum Doyle and as a fisherman out of Kilmore Quay before emigrating to Sydney. Colum described Shane as 'a genuine guy who would do anything for anybody'.
'We grew up together.. he probably did five years for me over a five-year period. He would get fed up with the painting and go fishing with his father for a few months and then come back,' Colum told this newspaper.
Asked what it would mean for him to win it, Shane, a former Bridgetown student, said the real award was having his best friend alive and well.
'It's fantastic to be nominated, it really is, but ultimately all I care about is the fact Dale is still here. I remember looking at the shore after the attack and thinking, I have to make sure this man is going to see his kids and wife again.'