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Surfer Mick Fanning attacked by shark on live TV

Australian surfing legend Mick Fanning had a scary encounter with a shark on live TV in South Africa on Sunday night (19Jul15).

The sportsman was attacked by a "very large" Great White during the final of a world tour event at Jefferys Bay.

Fans watched as Fanning punched the hungry fish after it knocked him off his board. Safety crew officials on jet skis quickly arrived at the scene and dragged the surfer out of danger.

The surfer says, "It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins. I didn’t see teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me. I punched it in the back.”

Fighting back tears, the terrified Aussie told TV reporters, "I was just about to start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. Then I started getting pulled under water and the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there and I saw the whole thing, it was right there. I was getting dragged under by my leg rope.

"I felt like it was dragging me under water and then my leg rope broke so I started swimming and screaming... I just can’t believe it, I’m just tripping out."

Asked if he would be back on his board during Monday's heats, Fanning said, "I’m happy to not even compete again. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked."

Following the shark attack, the remainder of the world tour event has been scrapped and Fanning has been handed a share of the prize money and competition points for first place.

A statement from the World Surf League reads: "We are incredible grateful that no one was seriously injured today. Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable - they are truly world class at what they do.

"The safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express out gratitude to the Water Safety Team."

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