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Rodney Fox's Story

The following account is a summarised and adapted version from Rodney's book "Sharkman", available from our online shop. To purchase this book, which includes a full first-person account of Rodney's horrific attack and his road to recovery go to our online shop.
Rodney's injuries over time
Rodney's injuries over time

Rodney Fox is regarded as a miracle survivor of one of the world's worst shark attacks. On the 8th of December 1963, Rodney was defending his title in a spearfishing competition off Aldinga Beach, 65km south of Adelaide, South Australia. The waters were clear and Rodney was just about to catch a fish in about 20m of water when he felt a thump on his left side and found himself in the mouth of a great white shark.  Rodney clawed at the sharks head and eyes and, when the shark released its grip, he thrust his right arm out to defend himself only to plunge it into the shark's mouth, slicing the flesh from his hand and forearm. Instinctively, he wrapped his arms and legs around the shark's body to stop it from getting hold of him again but his need for air saw him release and kick for the surface.

"There, I gratefully gasped one deep breath, then looked down through the water. This was the most terrifying, unforgettable moment of all. My body floated in a red sea and as I looked down through that bloody water, surging upwards through the reddish haze was an open set of jaws with razor-sharp teeth. The shark was coming back to eat me".

After kicking at the shark, it turned its attention to the fish float, swallowing both the fish and the float, still attached to Rodney's waist. Rodney was dragged back under, spinning uncontrollably as he was dragged deeper and deeper. Just when his breath was running out, the rope snapped and Rodney kicked for the surface.

He was dragged into a nearby boat and carried ashore before being rushed to the nearest hospital.

Rodney's abdomen was fully exposed and all ribs were broken on his left side. His diaphragm was punctured, lung ripped open, scapula was pierced, spleen was uncovered, the main artery from his heart was exposed.  The tendons, fingers and thumb in his right hand were all cut, and to this day he still has part of a Great White tooth embedded in his wrist. He was minutes away from his veins collapsing due to the loss of large amounts of blood. Over 360 stitches were required to sew him up.

Rodney thanks the wonderful work of his surgeon Dr. Justin Miller for the wonderful job in fitting all the pieces back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Rodney went on to build the first under water observation cage to dive the Great White Shark and has now led hundreds of major expeditions to film and study his attacker. He is regarded as a world authority on the Great White Shark and has a great reputation as an expedition leader and producer of sharks. It is estimated that Rodney has been involved in some way with 90% of all prominent White Shark images taken world wide, in the 20th Century.

Since Rodney's attack by a Great White in 1963 his involvement with great white sharks include consultant, guide, expedition leader, hunter, film producer, photographer, coordinator, actor, diver, cage designer protector and more.

Rodney's full story, including an in-depth account of his attack, can be found in his book "Sharkman ", available from our online shop.