Great White Shark Attack Recalled by Teen Who Came 'Face to Face' With Predator off Australian Coast

A South Australian teenager has recalled the harrowing moments she was launched into the sea by a great white shark in 2017, an encounter that could have been fatal if not for the quick response of her father and brother.

Sarah Williams, 18, of Mount Compass, was attacked during a fishing trip with family at the coastal town of Normanville in October 2017, being knocked from her kayak without warning and finding herself in the water with a large shark circling.

Only fifteen years old at the time, Williams said she instinctively searched for the kayak and pulled herself in, but not before making contact with the predator.

"My scream pierced the air even as I was gasping for breath. It was a sound I didn't even know I could make. It was pure fear and adrenaline" she told 7news.

"Grabbing at the far side of the kayak as I'd been trained I threw my upper body in and then my bare feet connected with something in the water. I remember the feeling so vividly. It was like hard rubber. I was literally standing on the shark," she added.

According to 7news, the shark—later identified as a 4.5 metre (14 foot) great white—had at one point bitten the kayak, leaving multiple marks on its side.

"As I lay on the kayak the shark launched again, this time biting into the kayak... it was only half a meter from my face, we were virtually face to face," the teen said.

Quickly responding from nearby, the teenager's dad Chris and brother Mitchell came to her aid and were able to pull her into their motorized aluminum boat.

But even as they made their way to shore, the shark appeared to be on their tail. "It was stalking behind us," the teen said, remembering seeing its fin in the water.

Ultimately, Williams was lucky to escape without serious injury. She was transported to Victor Harbor District Hospital with scratches and bruises.According to ABC, the ocean predator was monitored by a rescue helicopter as it made its way out to sea.

Officials told the family the shark was possibly attracted by vibrations caused by a music speaker on the kayak or had mistaken its shape for a seal, 7News reported.

Speaking to the Victor Harbor Times at the time, the victim's brother said the experience had been "like something out of a horror movie." Sarah's father Chris told the paper the shark was "aggressive" and that the encounter would have a "lasting effect."

"It really scared me how big and aggressive the shark was," the dad said. "Anyone who protects these aggressive sharks has never had to pull their child from a scenario that could have killed them," he added, stressing he doesn't condone culling.

"We still can't believe we got her out, that's how close it was," the teen's father added. "We had a window of 10 seconds to stop her from losing her legs or being killed."

Despite the dangers, white sharks are a protected species in Australia waters, according to a fact-sheet published by the government's national resources department.

The teenager's father and brother, who work as alpaca farmers, were presented with awards for bravery last year for their rescue, ABC reported.

"I think the shock from what happened caught up with us all and affected us mentally in different ways," Sarah Williams told 7News, discussing the close call.

"Water certainly doesn't hold the same appeal for me or my family that it once did and for now, that's fine. I was lucky once. I won't be testing that luck again any time soon."

There are approximately 400 known species of shark worldwide, roughly 180 species of which can be found in Australian waters. The white shark is listed as a vulnerable species.

 Great White Shark
Great White Shark swims in Shark Alley near Dyer Island on July 8, 2010 in Gansbaai, South Africa. Ryan Pierse/Getty