Weather Forecast


Shocking video shows Australian woman being pulled into water after hand-feeding shark

Tawny Nurse Shark / Wikimedia Commons

KIMBERLEY, Australia—Shocking video of an Australian woman being pulled into the water after hand-feeding a shark off the back of a yacht in western Australia went viral Monday, July 2.

Melissa Brunning, 34, of Perth, Australia, who says she was on a “once-in-a-lifetime” vacation, is lucky to be alive after the unexpected attack. Brunning said that she initially thought her right pointer finger was taken off during the attack, but after being pulled to safety, it was revealed that her finger was still in tact.

Brunning was attacked by a Tawny nurse shark, which are known for their ability to suck objects into their mouths, like a vacuum. Tawny nurse sharks also have a mouth full of multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth.

The video, which was filmed by a friend standing behind Brunning, shows the victim bending over to feed the shark, which was swimming just feet in front of her, with her right hand. The shark then sees the food in Brunning’s hand, and proceeds to swim towards it to take the bait. In the process, Brunning’s hand was sucked into the mouth of the shark, and she was pulled into the water with the shark.

“I think the shark was in shock as much as I was,” Brunning told The West Australian. “The only way I can describe it is this immense pressure and it felt like it was shredding it off the bone.”

Upon returning to shore, Brunning rushed straight to the hospital. X-rays revealed both a fracture and torn ligament in here finger. The finger was also badly infected, The West Australian reported, and Brunning had to undergo surgery to flush out the infection.

“I’m not a shark victim,” Brunning said. “I have full respect for sharks, I think they’re incredible.”

“I’ve always had the opinion that when you’re in the water, they’re top of the food chain, it’s their domain.”

Despite the freak incident, Brunning said she continued to carry on with her vacation as planned.

“It was an unforgettable trip,” Brunning said. “I’ve got a cool story, a cool injury and I’ll have a cool little scar, but I’m just grateful that it wasn’t worse than what it was.”

Ross Torgerson

Digital Reporter for Forum Communications. Native of Moorhead, Minn. Have a question or story idea? Email me at Follow me on Twitter @RossTorgerson