Kyle Roberts was marooned in the ocean after a four-metre tiger shark flung him from his kayak during a dawn paddle last November, but he was never alone.
Reaching for his radio, the stunned Sunshine Coast local contacted the coastguard who immediately alerted off-duty volunteer surf lifesaver Graham Sharry.
“I was in the shower when the phone rang,” Graham said. “The call came through and I knew something was wrong because [the radio operator] was very excitable, telling me someone had been attacked by a shark about 1km off Moffatt Headland.”
As his wife began calling around other off-duty lifesavers, Graham rushed to his jet ski and headed out into the open water.
“I couldn’t find him… he was a needle in a haystack, so to speak. When you start getting out there, it’s a big ocean, and that’s what really hit me,” Graham said.
Fellow volunteer surf lifesaver Jacob Thomson headed to the top of the headland to scour the ocean with binoculars. Kyle was stranded in the open ocean, and the likelihood of finding him was slim.
Until, “Kyle raised his paddle and a beam of light from the aluminium reflected off it, which Jacob picked up with his eagle eye,” Graham said.
Jacob said the rescue demonstrated perfectly how the right safety equipment can save lives.
“There’s no doubt that we’d be talking about something completely different if he had not had his radio on him,” he said.
“It allowed not only for him to be able to call for help, but for us to locate him as well.”
Graham says his team had stayed in touch with Kyle after the rescue.
“He’s such a nice bloke - a fisherman with a young family – and as a team, we’re just glad we were able to assist him to get back home to his family. That’s the important thing,” he said.