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Last Updated: Tuesday January 23 2007 12:56 GMT

Man fights off killer shark

A great white shark

A man had an amazing escape from a great white shark when he fought off the giant creature after it tried to swallow him.

Eric Nerhus, 41, was diving from a fishing boat off the south-east coast of Australia when the giant 3m-long fish attacked him.

He managed to wrestle free from the creature by hitting it on the head with a fishing tool until it spat him out.

Mr Nerhus was then pulled back onto the boat and is now recovering in hospital.

He was lucky to survive after the huge predator crushed his face-mask, broke his nose and shredded his wetsuit.

A map
His friend Dennis Luobikis, who helped rescue him, told reporters: "He was actually bitten by the head down, the shark swallowed his head."

After grabbing Mr Nerhus's head, the huge animal took a second bite, this time on the body, biting into his torso.

Mr Luobikis added: "Eric is a tough boy, he's super-fit."

Fatal attacks are rare

The pair were on a fishing trip along with Mr Nerhus's son and a few other friends. His condition is described as serious but stable, which means doctors think he's getting better.

Shark attacks are not uncommon in Australian waters. There are around 15 a year, but only about one a year end in death.

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