An Australian fisherman, rescued after 40 hours clinging to an upturned dinghy, says he owes his life to dolphins that chased off a pack of circling sharks.
Thirty-six-year-old Grant Dickson's prawn trawler sank in rough seas off the coast of northern Queensland. Two other crew members are feared drowned.
A search involving 18 aircraft covering over 2,000 square nautical miles has so far found no sign of the missing men.
Bleeding heavily and clinging to an upturned boat, Grant Dickson
described how a group of sharks had stalked him after his fishing
boat had sunk. It was, he felt, only a matter of time before they
Talking on Australian television, the fisherman said one shark in
particular was moving closer and closer, before the intervention of
a pod of dolphins which moved in and scared the predators away.
His ordeal lasted several more hours as he continued to drift in the
Pacific ocean. Thoughts of his family, he said, gave him the
determination to survive.
He was eventually rescued by a passing cruise ship almost two days after his trawler sank.
It went down in rough seas after its nets had snagged on seaweed near Dunk Island, south of Cairns.
Mr Dickson, who is in hospital recovering from exposure, has described how he managed to reach an inflatable dinghy with another crew member, who then disappeared after deciding to try to swim back to land.
The boat's skipper has also not been found, despite an extensive air and sea search.
Rescue teams have continued to look for them but admit that as every hour passes, the chances of finding the missing fishermen alive are becoming more remote.