THIS is the horrifying moment a diver had his arm and leg ripped off by a shark in Sydney 12 years before Brit Simon Nellist was killed.

The Aussie ex-navy diver said Nellist’s death off Sydney’s shoreline on Wednesday brought back memories of his own near-fatal encounter with a shark.

Paul de Gelder had his leg and arm torn off during a diving exercise in 2009

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Paul de Gelder had his leg and arm torn off during a diving exercise in 2009
The Aussie ex-Navy diver was on a military drill when the attack occurred in Sydney Harbour

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The Aussie ex-Navy diver was on a military drill when the attack occurred in Sydney Harbour

Back in February 2009, Paul de Gelder was diving in Sydney Harbour when he was attacked by a bull shark that tore his arm and leg off.

“I didn’t feel the teeth go in,” he said. “It just felt like pressure, because their teeth are so sharp, and┬ádesigned to slice straight into meat with ease.

“It has about 36 razor blades either side and they move opposite in unison, sawing through flesh until they meet in the middle and then ripping out the rest.

“I was being torn apart, in agony, and I was drowning at the same time.”

The former Navy clearance driver was doing a routine military exercise with the Australian Navy when the shark ripped off his right lower arm and leg.

He said: “I was swimming on the surface of the water wearing a black wet suit, black fins and lying on my back like an injured seal floating around.

“The bull shark came from beneath me and grabbed me by the right leg and hand in the same bite whilst dragging me underwater.

“I could feel the muscle from my hamstring and hand being ripped off whilst drowning at the same time.

“It felt like two rows of about 36 razor blades on either side of my leg and wrist, just shredding their way through my flesh.

“I tried to put up a fight by poking it in the eyes but there was nothing I could do, I began to give up hope and I resigned myself to that fate and went with it.

“Until I realised that my hand had reached the surface and I wasn’t dead, the shark splashed in my face and swam away leaving me in a pool of my own blood.

“I saw the safety boat coming towards me, but I didn’t think I was going to make it in time, I thought the shark would have come back to finish me off.”

Mr De Gelder spent three months in rehabilitation, but miraculously returned to work for the Navy.

He wanted to return to his old job role as a diver but was instead given the opportunity to public-speak in 2012.

The double amputee is now a motivational speaker who raises awareness about the shark’s role in the ecosystem.

Nellist, 35, was mauled to death by a 15ft great white shark as he trained for a charity ocean swim in Little Bay, Sydney.

The British expat’s remains were found in the water on Wednesday afternoon following the horror ordeal.

Nellist was a British trooper who served two tours in Afghanistan before settling down with “girl of his dreams” in Sydney.

His tragic death was the first fatal attack in the area in nearly 60 years.

Like Simon Nellist, de Gelder was a diver and a solider

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Like Simon Nellist, de Gelder was a diver and a solider
The Aussie says he can still remember the muscle from his hamstring and hand being 'ripped off'

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The Aussie says he can still remember the muscle from his hamstring and hand being ‘ripped off’
De Gelder says seeing the incident this week sparked memories of his own encounter with a shark

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De Gelder says seeing the incident this week sparked memories of his own encounter with a shark





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