VIDEO: Family shares ‘traumatic’ shark attack experience
THE grandfather of a 10-year-old victim of a freak shark attack off the coast of Stanley in North-West Tasmania has shared details of the "traumatic" experience, saying the boy's father saved his life.
Lucas Arnott was fishing for flathead with his dad John Arnott and friends 5km from shore when a shark leapt from the water, grabbed Lucas and pulled him overboard on Friday.
Mr Arnott, from Latrobe, leapt overboard to save his son before the shark swam away.
David Arnott, the father of John and grandfather of Lucas, read a statement from the family to media in Devonport on Sunday afternoon.
"John and Lucas were fishing off Stanley with friends," he said.
"A shark, unprovoked and undetected before the attack, jumped out of the water pulling him over the side of the boat into the water.
"John recovered Lucas from the water. He was brought ashore at Stanley."
Mr Arnott Senior quashed suggestions the men were cleaning fish or using berley at the time of the incident.
First aid was administered to Lucas before an ambulance transported him to the Northwest Regional Hospital and then the Launceston General Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remains in a stable condition.
"We are grateful to those who helped administer first aid until the paramedics arrived," Mr Arnott Snr said.
"Our family's grateful for the community support at this difficult time. Thank you to all those wonderful staff who have looked after [Lucas].
"Lucas's wellbeing is our main priority and we now ask for some space and privacy for everyone involved to allow us all time to work through what happened."
Mr Arnott Snr said the Arnotts had always been a fishing family.
"We understand the nature of the sea and the potential dangers," he said.
"It was a shock to all those involved, a shock to our family.
"It's taken a while for us to actually digest what's happened and we just asked for some privacy at this time."
Mr Arnott Snr said he believes his son saved Lucas's life.
"He's a great family man and it's what I would expect of any of my children.
"[It's] what fathers and mothers do to support their kids."
Independent Mersey MLC Mike Gaffney taught John Arnott at Latrobe High School, played football with him at Wesley Vale and on Sunday commended his bravery, saying he was not at all surprised by it.
"John was always a good student, fun-loving, mischievous, but always friendly, would do anything for anybody and was always well-regarded by his peers and his teachers," Mr Gaffney said.
"He was a very, very courageous little footballer. He was never shy of getting in and getting the ball. He's just one of those quiet achievers."
Mr Gaffney said the heroic tale was "one of those good news stories that I think we need at the moment".
"It just takes us back to what being a family member is about and the important role that adults have within the lives of their kids.
"It is pleasing to see that the young fella … recover."
Originally published as VIDEO: Family shares details of 'traumatic' shark attack experience