TOWNSVILLE, Australia -- A 15-foot shark mauled and killed two crew members of a capsized shrimp boat in the Coral Sea, one as she clutched the hand of the vessel's horrified skipper.
Ray Boundy, 28, skipper of the New Venture, told his tale of maritime terror Tuesday a few hours after being rescued from Loaders Reef, 45 miles northeast of Townsville. He had been in the Coral Sea off Australia's northeast coast for 36 hours.
Boundy said from his hospital bed that deckhand Dennis Patrick Murphy, 24, of Brisbane and his cook, Linda Anne Horton, 21, of Townsville were attacked by a shark he estimated at 15 feet long as they clung to the capsized vessel.
Boundy said his boat capsized Sunday night in rough seas 60 miles east of Townsville.
'The deckie (Murphy) was on deck and jumped straight into the water, but Lindy and I were caught in the wheelhouse. We all ended up sitting on top of the upturned hull wondering what we were going to do,'Boundy said.
They clung to wreckage, which included a surfboard, a life ring and pieces of Styrofoam from shrimp boxes as the trawler sank. Boundy said the shark approached Monday night.
'We weren't taking much notice of him thinking that if we didn't antagonize him he might leave us alone,' Boundy said. 'He took a bite at my leg under the surfboard so I kicked him with my other foot and he let go,' Boundy said.
About 10 minutes later, the shark struck.
''He's got my leg, the bastard's got my leg,'' Boundy quoted Murphy as screaming.
'You're joking,' I said. 'But then I could see the blood coming to the surface through the water.'
'I didn't know what to do. We'd been hanging together so well for so long ... pushed ourselves so hard. I just didn't know how to deal with it because we had no dinghy. We had nothing to use as a tourniquet, even if we stopped the bleeding. The shark was still going to come back and I just didn't know what to do.
'The shark came back and I said to 'Smurf' (Murphy) 'What do you want to do?' and he said, 'You bolt. Gather in all the stuff. Leave me' and he swam off about four or five paces,' Boundy said in an emotion-choked voice.
'Everything seemed to be going all right for a couple of hours. I got Lindy to get her spirits back up and we seemed to be traveling along all right and I knew we'd get to the reef sometime in the morning,' Boundy said.
About 4 a.m., the shark struck again.
'Lindy was sitting in the sling of the lifebuoy when I saw him come along again.
'I was pretty sure he was the same shark this time. He came along as slow as you like beside me then slewed around and grabbed Lindy around the arms and the chest,' Boundy said.
'I was still holding her by the hand as he shook her about three or four times. She only let out one little squeal as soon as it hit and I knew almost instantly that she was dead.'