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Hillarys Marina shark encounter: Chris Johnson says new shark shield likely saved his life

13th September 2021

Story originally published on 7News Perth. Watch the news story here

A shark shield purchased only a day ago might have saved a Perth driver who came face to face with a great white shark off Hillarys Marina.

The 3.5-metre predator took Chris Johnson’s catch, his spear, and his nerves - but left him unhurt.

The 34-year-old was diving 7km off the coast at Three Mile Reef on Monday morning when the shark came at him “out of nowhere.”

“I unclipped my speargun, waited for the shark to take me whole, speargun and everything,” he told 7NEWS.

“Just two chomps took the whole fish and my spear, so yeah, he can have both of them.”

In a stroke of luck, Chris was wearing a brand-new shark shield.

“I had my shark shield on, bought it yesterday so brand new, first time in the water,” he said.

He managed to make a desperate dash to the safety of his boat.

It was a close call in an area where big sharks have claimed lives before.

Five years ago, Doreen Collyer was diving when she was attacked.

The 60-year-old university lecturer lost her life just north of where Chris was spearfishing.

He reported the incident to the Department of Fisheries, who warned the shark could still be a danger to others in the area.

Asked if his close encounter would put him off getting back in the water, he didn’t hesitate.

“I’m going back tomorrow,” he said.

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