An Auckland spear fisherman is counting his blessings after he made a daring escape from a shark that had its jaws locked on his leg.
On Sunday, December 9 Anton Oleinik was out fishing at Ti Point, near Omaha just north of Auckland.
The Russian-born spear fisherman had been swimming alone along the coastline around 8am when he found a school of kingfish.
The 50-year-old took aim and snared his target - but as he was pulling in a kingfish a large bronze whaler shark about 2.5m long swam up and clung on to his leg.
"I was one of the first ones in the water that morning. I was by myself and was diving for about an hour. I was swimming along and reached the point and found a big school of kingfish," Oleinik told the Herald.
"I shot one and got tangled in the fight to pull him in. The rope wrapped around me. I was trying to untangle it when I popped my head above the water to take a breath.
"All of a sudden I felt a squeeze on my knee. I thought it must have been a strong kingfish but when I put my head down and there was a big shark with his jaws around my leg.
"So I pushed him off, left my gear and swam back to the rocks about 10m away. I didn't realise the camera was still rolling. I sat on the rocks for five to 10min to catch my breath then I realised I had to swim back for my gear. It was very scary.
"I was lucky he got me on the knee pad with three layers of neoprene so there was no harm to my leg."
During the panic of the attack, Oleinik left his gear in the water.
Despite his close call just minutes before, the 50-year-old decided to jump back into the water to retrieve his equipment including his GoPro
"When I went back I realised the shark had bitten off the line of the spear," he said.
"When I pulled my gear out the spear was missing so he must have taken the fish with the spear. Luckily he was likely interested in the fish and not me.
"It was a really close call. If he had pulled me down even a little bit it would have ended really badly."
Upon returning home he turned on his GoPro and realised it had been left on during the attack.
Footage show's Oleinik's frantic escape as the shark can been seen attempting to grab on to the fisherman before swimming away.
Oleinik told the Herald that while he was initially shaken, looking back on the footage was "pretty cool".
The keen fisherman has since shaken off the attack and returned to the same spot just days later.
Oleinik explained he went for a dip in at Ti Point and spotted another shark swimming in the bay.
While his close call hasn't put him off spearfishing, the experienced fisherman has warned others not to go out alone and stressed the importance of going out with a friend.
"Don't dive alone. It would have helped with being aware of what was around us.
"It was a really close call. It could have gone horribly wrong.
Having someone around, like the guy did up north on Saturday, that's really important.
Just days after Oleinik's attack, a Kerikeri man escaped a shark attack by stabbing it while a friend held the tail.
A 24-year-old Kerikeri man was spearfishing near the Cavalli Islands in Northland with friends on Saturday when he was attacked by a 2m mako shark about 11am.
Kevin Lloyd said he had been in the water for about three hours and had just speared a kingfish when the shark "came out of nowhere" and latched on to his leg.
"I started stabbing it heaps with my knife and it didn't quite like that so it turned around and bit my hand.
"And then I was just trying to get my hand out of its mouth so I gouged its eye with my left hand - this is all while my mate's holding on to the tail of the shark trying to pull it off me.
"It was pretty lucky because my mate was there. I think it would have been way worse if he wasn't," he said.
The shark let go of his hand and swam off into the murky water.
"I was stunned. I couldn't believe it was happening. We dive with sharks all the time but this shark we hadn't seen."