- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2015

Three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark on live television Sunday as he competed in the JBay Open in South Africa.

As the Australian surfer sat on his board waiting for his turn, a large fin is seen swimming behind him before he is knocked into the water and pulled under.

Mr. Fanning is next seen trying to swim to safety before a rescuer pulls him out of the water. He said he fought the shark off by punching it in the back.

“I felt something grab, get stuck in my leg rope and instantly jump away. And it just kept coming at my board,” he said later after walking away unharmed, The Associated Press reported.

“I saw it taking my board away and I just started cracking it,” he said. “There’s a small depression in my board and my leg wrap [was] bitten. I’m just totally tripping out. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked. Oh man.”

His mother said Monday that “time stood still” as she watched live TV coverage of her son being attacked by a shark.

“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Ms. Osborne told NBC News’ Australian partner Channel 7. “I went over to the television almost as though I could pull him out of the television. I just wanted to save him really, but there was nothing I could do.”

The World Surf League canceled the rest of the event and Mr. Fanning will split the prize money with fellow Australian surfer Julian Wilson, who swam on his surfboard to assist Mr. Fanning after the attack, AP reported.

“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today,” the league said in a statement. “Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic.”

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