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Close to shore, but far from help

For Quentin Gorrell, a crewman aboard an Australian commercial trawler, it will go down as “one of those days.”

Gorrell was aboard the steel ship Xanadu I Wednesday, fishing for prawn. The 43-year-old was attempting to release a shark from what he described as a device that keeps unwanted marine life from getting into fishing nets. The shark lunged and tore the tendons in his right index finger to the bone, according to news reports.

After releasing the shark, the skipper raced to get his bleeding crewmember to shore for medical treatment. After 20 hours running hard, the vessel ran aground about 165 feet from shore.

“We couldn’t believe it — the wharf was seriously spitting-distance away,” says Gorrell in the report. “It was a case of so close, but so far.”

Despite the listing vessel, Gorrell was shuttled ashore in a police dinghy and driven to RoyalDarwinHospital, where surgery was performed on his hand. The five remaining Xanadu I crew waited on board for the tide to refloat the vessel.

— Elizabeth Ellis