UK woman attacked by shark near Ascension Island saved after husband punched it

Frankie Gonsalves was attacked by a shark.
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Frankie Gonsalves was attacked by a shark.

A UK woman has been saved when her husband punched a shark that attacked her off a remote island in the South Atlantic. 

Frankie Gonsalves was attacked while snorkelling off Ascension Island The Telegraph reported.

Her husband punched the shark, which had bitten her calf and foot. She scrambled back to shore before being rushed to the island's tiny single-doctor hospital. 

"Who would have known how hard a shark's head is," her husband said. 

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She is now awaiting on a medical flight back to the UK.

Before the attack, Gonsalves had been hitching a ride from the island of St Helena on a cruise ship because of two shut airports and a broken down supply ship. Her husband and two children have had to leave her and return to the cruise ship as it is the only way that they can get home. 

Her father, Irving Benjamin said she is doing well. "She is in a stable condition, I have been speaking to her on the phone at the hospital and they are anticipating that she will be medivaced to the UK possibly on Wednesday now. She is in good spirits," Benjamin said.

"They were swimming about 10 metres from the shore when she was attacked around her feet and calf she shouted out and Dean fended off the shark whilst she got to shore. He punched the shark."

Gonsalves has a long recovery from the damage caused in the attack, but her injuries are not life threatening and it is hoped that her foot will recover.

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Gonsalves was returning to Britain to spend time with family and friends when the family found themselves stuck by travel chaos across the South Atlantic. 

St Helena's airport was due to open last May but flights have been postponed indefinitely due to wind.

People normally get the island's ageing supply ship, the RMS St Helena, to Ascension Island, but it broke down near South Africa in late March.

Flights have also stopped touching down on the military runway on the island, reportedly because of cracks in the runway.

Local government has warned swimmers that they enter the surrounding waters at their own risk, but it remains popular with tourists for scuba diving and fishing trips.

English Bay, where Gonsalves was swimming is considered one of two safe bathing beaches.  

 - Stuff

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