Media interest in shark 'yarn' shocks

16:00, Jan 31 2014
Junior doctor James Grant was bitten by a shark
BITE FRIGHT: Junior doctor James Grant inspects the wetsuit he was wearing when he was attacked by a shark on Saturday.

He was out to catch some fish, not international media headlines.

James Grant, a junior doctor at Southland Hospital, shared his fisherman's tale with The Southland Times last week.

His story - being attacked by a shark, fighting it off with a knife and sewing up his wounds with his pig hunting first-aid kit before going to the pub for a beer and finally heading to the hospital, where he works - has grabbed international media attention.

Grant's tale has hooked the attention of the media in Germany, England, Ireland, Australia and the United States.

With his story appearing in media giants such as The Guardian, Huffington Post and the BBC, it also was a hit on Twitter.

"I am a wee bit shocked about how viral it has gone. I laughed when I saw the cartoon of me fighting off a shark on YouTube."


Even though he hit international headlines, Grant was still getting "a bit of stick" from his mates.

He phoned The Southland Times offering to tell his tale because he thought it would be a good yarn southerners would enjoy. He not did not think it was "that big a deal".

"I guess they are interested because it is a good ‘southern bloke' story - a rugged New Zealand tale," he said.

A few media outlets had misconstrued some of the facts and he set them straight. The BBC thought he had stitched up his whole leg, he said.

Many of the media outlets were interested in how he fought off the shark and how his mates had no sympathy.

They also thought it was funny that he stitched his own leg and went to the pub before hospital.

All the attention had been "fun", but now it was back to work for the junior doctor, he said.

The Southland Times