The father of a ten-year-old shark attack victim has been recognised as a hero with a ‘big heart’ after risking his life to save his young son.
John Arnott was fishing with his son Lucas off Stanley on Tasmania’s north west coast when a shark leaped out of the water and dragged the child off the boat on Friday afternoon.
With no concern for his own safety, the dad immediately jumped in to save him and scared the shark away.
His quick-thinking came as no surprise to those living in his home town of Latrobe, where is well known for his ties to the sporting community.
Mr Arnott was heavily involved with the Latrobe and Wesley Vale football clubs, where he was known by mates as ‘Biscuit’.
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John Arnott (pictured) was fishing with his son Lucas, off Stanley on Tasmania’s Northwest coast when a shark jumped up and dragged the child off the boat on Friday afternoon
Wesley Vale Football Club president Scott Jaffray grew to know him as a ‘terrific family man’ in the 15 years since they met.
‘You wouldn’t find a better bloke than John,’ Mr Jaffray told the Mercury.
Former Latrobe Football Club President Rick Slatter said he was a good player and his conduct at the sea reflects how he used to play on the field.
‘The way he responded to the situation comes as no surprise to me because that was the way he played footy,’ Mr Slatter said.
Meanwhile one of the first people on scene following the horrific attack has described the incredible moment Mr Arnott emerged from the water with his son.
Dianne Maynard was walking along the beach with her mother when the boat returned to shore after the attack on Friday morning.
The family were fishing off Stanley on Tasmania’s north west coast when tragedy struck (stock image of fishing boats at Stanley)
Tasmania Police issued a warning to water users after receiving alerts of a shark sighting 10km off the coast of Stanley on Friday
She saw Mr Arnott carrying his wet son in his arms and offered to help, but soon realised something was wrong.
‘The father was doing an amazing job in the circumstances, it was a pretty scary situation for the family,’ Diane Maynard told ABC news.
‘Seeing a child in his parent’s arms looking pretty ordinary, it was pretty amazing [seeing the father’s care].’
‘I don’t think I would have done as good a job as he did in that situation.’
Another local who rushed to help said she was ‘amazed’ by the little boy’s bravery, with him being able to recount the ordeal and answer questions despite his injuries.
Lucas was rushed to the North West Regional Hospital after the attack but has since been transferred to Launceston General Hospital.
A 10-year-old boy was grabbed from a boat and mauled by a shark before his heroic dad jumped into the water to save him (stock image)
He is understood to be in a stable condition after suffering chest, head and arm wounds in the attack.
The incident has sparked shock throughout the local community.
Local fisherman Steve Hursey said the freak shark attack was unheard of.
‘I’m 28 years old and have been fishing all my life and never have I even seen a shark here, let alone a shark attack. We don’t normally get them up here,’ he told the Mercury.
Mr Hursey said, due to the damage on the side of the boat, the predator must have been at least three meters long.
‘I have heard of shark attacks occurring before but have never heard of anyone being pulled out of a boat.’
Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam the incident is now the ‘talk of the town’ and residents in the remote community of 8,000 residents have never heard of anything like it.
The shark attack happened just off the northern Tasmanian coast near Stanley on Friday