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Throw another shrimp on the barbee, as they say in Australia. Or do they?

Shark attack Down Under was "just like Jaws" ... or was it?

An Australian surfer is recovering after being dragged under the water by a shark in a scene described as "like Jaws."
Jaws Japan Enlarge
Visitors crowd around a hanging shark display near the ride, themed after the Steven Spielberg motion picture "Jaws," at Universal Studios during a pre-opening preview of the park March 29, 2001 in Osaka, Japan. (Koichi Kamoshida/AFP/Getty Images)

"It was just like Jaws!"

Really? Just like it?

We know what he's trying to say, right — the shark was huuuuuuge, with lots of teeth, an appetite for human flesh and a vengeful spirit?

Time for a look at the facts:

An Australian surfer is recovering after being attacked by a around 6.5-foot shark that "sliced his leg open then circled him as he screamed for help in a scene witnesses said was 'like Jaws.'"

That's from the AFP report on the attack off Redhead Beach north of Sydney.

Truth be told, Down Under prefers this version, from the Australian Associated Press:

A bleeding and wounded tattoo artist in Australia fought his way back to a NSW beach as a marauding [6.5-foot] shark that attacked him seconds earlier circled, its fin slicing the surface.

The "marauding" shark reportedly attacked in front of dozens of stunned swimmers, taking a large chunk out of Glen Folkard's leg and board before dragging him under.

"It was kind of like Jaws, you know, the scene at the start... where everybody's pulled out of the water and it's a hot day and the water's inviting," the Fairfax Press quotes a witness, named only "Peter," as saying.

OK, so now we see where the Jaws reference maybe comes from.

Surely it can't come from the likeness of the shark to anything Hollywood has ever offered up.

After all, sharks don't reach 25 feet or weigh 3 tons. (That's in the script.)

Scientific evidence is scarce, but Discovery Channel makes a fairly unhysterical effort to verify the size of the biggest shark ever caught.

Over the past two decades, most researchers accepted that the largest great white was a 23-foot individual caught in 1987 off the coast of Malta by Alfredo Cutajar. More recent studies on information concerning the specimen suggest its length had been exaggerated.

Meanwhile, National Geographic got pretty excited when their show "Shark Men—Biggest and Baddest" caught a 17-footer.

So while this "marauder" certainly meant business when in chomped into Folkard (he goes by Lenny), it was certainly no Jaws. (Though when you're waist deep in water and someone goes under, replaced by a bubbling pool of blood, who's going to blame you for clawing past your fellow swimmers to get back to shore.)

Perhaps one must go back to the days of the megalodon to find a shark worthy of comparison to everybody's favorite New England killing machine.

Meanwhile, a rescue helicopter that conducted air patrols after the attack spotted several large groups of sharks off Redhead and nearby beaches, according to Fairfax

The patrol saw clusters of sharks as big as [14 feet] close to the shore, including one that came within 10 [yards] of an unsuspecting surfer.

The news service quotes marine scientist David Powter as saying that currents moving up and down the coastline had been closer to shore than usual. "That's brought the bait fish in, which inevitably will bring the predators in — including sharks," he reportedly said

So much for shark intent?

There is one thing Chief Brody might accept about any comparisons: Australians evidently hold their own when it comes to mass panic after a shark alarm. Kind of like Jaws, you know.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/down-under/shark-attack-jaws-australia-surfing-tattoo

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