WARNING: GRAPHICS PICTURES. Adreno has received this news story from a Yeppoon, Queensland customer. They have asked that names not be included. We have posted before about the dangers associated with spearing Barracuda, but we hope these pictures and the experience of these spearos over the weekend prevents further similar incidences from occurring. We advise that divers DO NOT spear Barracuda of any size. If you need to spear a Barracuda that attacks you, you should cut the shooting line immediately and get out of the water.
On Saturday myself and a couple of friends went on what we thought was going to be just another spearing trip. All three of us had been in the water for about 10 minutes when, out of nowhere, a medium sized Barracuda of about 10-12kg rushed at me so quickly that I freaked out and just pulled the trigger on it. It took off peeling line from my reel. It went straight past one of my dive buddies who was just out in front of us. After a minute or 2 of fighting, the Barracuda came back up around us and my dive buddy went down to put another shot in it. The fish was about 10 meters away, but as he stretched his arm out it raced up on him in the blink of an eye and latched onto his arm.
Instantly the water turned red. My dive buddy who was attacked was screaming and yelling, "What do I do?" I told him to get to the boat now and I called the other diver over as well. By the time we got to the boat it seemed the whole ocean was red from blood. We cut the line on the spear and got in the boat to see what the severity of the situation was.
Blood was squirting out quite profusely from his forearm. I told him we would have to cut his wetsuit off but he decided to pull his arm out of the sleeve. The moment he did that we could see this shark bite-like wound on his forearm. I could see muscle tendons, veins, bone and lots and lots of blood.
As we applied pressure to the wound the other dive buddy pulled the pick so we could get going. We tried applying a tourniquet to his bicep. The first thing I grabbed was my weight belt which I couldn't get tight enough due to the big buckle on it. We then used two rubber straps off a dive knife sheath, applying these to his bicep while keeping his arm elevated and putting pressure on the large wound. After putting the tourniquets on, putting a towel in and around the wound quite firmly, keeping pressure on it and keeping it raised it seemed to have stopped the bleeding a lot.
My dive buddy, driving the boat, tried to get the Coast Guard on the radio while we motored toward Keppel. With no luck he rang them on his mobile and they advised him to come to the Harbour where they would have an ambulance waiting. I sat down the back of the boat with my injured friend between my legs resting back on my chest while I held his arm up, kept pressure on the wound and just kept talking to him as he drifted in and out of consciousness. The trip seemed to take forever.
When we got back the ambulance and Coast Guard were at the ramp waiting for us as promised. We pulled up on the jetty and were assisted in moving our injured dive buddy from the boat before they changed the dressing on his arm and rushed him to Rockhampton hospital. Once there, he underwent surgery and a blood transfusion. His wound was left open all Sunday to allow the swelling to go down.
His muscle got torn in half, tendons cut, veins severed and it was all pretty heavy. He is now in surgery Monday morning to see if there is anything else needed and to stitch him up. At this stage, the extent of any permanent damage is unknown, but he has a long recovery road ahead including rehab for at least the next 5 months.
Until now, I had never experienced anything like this. I can't stress enough how important it is to dive with friends and know relevant first aid as well. They said he lost around 2 liters of blood and that he would have bled out and died if we weren't there to assist him. I don't wish that upon anyone and so I share this story in the hope that it will make some of you think twice about diving alone, and about spearing Barracuda.