Eight-year-old Scarlett Johnson had just left the safety of a pontoon offshore when the shark alarm was raised.
Eight-year-old Scarlett Johnson had just left the safety of a pontoon offshore when the shark alarm was raised.

Girl plucked from sea as shark sets off alarm

A girl was plucked from shark-infested waters in a courageous surf lifesaving rescue at Normanville on the weekend.

Enjoying the sun on holidays, eight-year-old Scarlett Johnson had just jumped off a pontoon for a long swim back to shore when the shark alarm was raised about 2pm on Saturday.

Panic swept across the beach, and parents and children stranded on the pontoon, just as Scarlett broke the surface for a breath of air.

"I had that mother moment, do I jump in or what do I do," Amanda Johnson, 41, said.

"Everyone was evacuating, then this boat just appeared and this young boy just shouted out: 'Don't you jump off that pontoon, we've got her'.

"And they did, they scooped her up and they had two other people in the boat."

 

Amanda Johnson with her children Scarlett, 8, Miller, 7, and Curtis, 5. Scarlett had a close call with a shark at Normanville. Picture: AAP / Emma Brasier
Amanda Johnson with her children Scarlett, 8, Miller, 7, and Curtis, 5. Scarlett had a close call with a shark at Normanville. Picture: AAP / Emma Brasier

With Scarlett and other children in safe hands, Mrs Johnson clung tight to her son Miller, 7, while they waited for the boat to return.

She watched on as the lifesaving volunteers cut through the water, ferrying their distraught passengers back to land. "They were so good, they did it all in this amazing, fast way," she said. "They were this young boys and they could have been with their mates, but they were there volunteering their time on the beach."

Although many didn't see the shark, Mrs Johnson said the surf lifesavers described it as "quite big" and pointed to it lurking near the jetty.

"You always think the sharks are in that deep water," she said.

Although a little shaken, the Johnson family returned home to Seacliff in good spirits. "We don't want our kids put off the beach, we're in shark territory, it's their home," Mrs Johnson said.

"We were lucky we were at a patrolled beach. If it wasn't for these guys, who knows."

The incident follows a terrifying close call at Hallett Cove where a great white shark tried to flip a tinnie on Friday.

Almost 90 shark sightings have been reported by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia in 2019, compared to 104 last year.


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