An Albany man has described the dramatic moment he fought for his life after a shark “as big as his boat” lunged at him while spearfishing near Coral Bay, saying the attack wouldn’t have happened had the area not been overfished. Keiron Benson was at the end of a week-long holiday in Coral Bay when he headed out with his young family to catch some fish for dinner near Five Fingers Reef. Mr Benson, an experienced spearfisherman, was trailing behind a 3.5m dinghy – carrying his wife Hollie, stepson O’Shae, and daughter Mia – when he noticed a “shape in the water”. “I initially thought it might just be a reef shark because there was a few reefies around,” Mr Benson said. “As it got closer it got bigger, then it started to circle. “It probably circled around five times.” Mr Benson looked to the boat and saw his family struggling to turn it around. “I looked back down and the f...er was right there,” he said. “I didn’t want to shoot it, I wanted it to go away and I knew that most likely it would just antagonise it anyway because it looked really big in the water.” But then it turned to face him. “I had my gun facing its eyeball and just at that moment I thought ‘that’s close enough’…” The animal propelled itself at him and Mr Benson was left with no choice. “I just shot because just after that moment, I’ve copped the whole shark whacking me in the chest and it all went through just kind of rotating,” he said. He fired his spear, striking it in the eye, but the stunned shark – later described by Hollie and Mia as “easily the size of the boat” – continued moving in Mr Benson’s direction, propelled by its powerful fin. With the shark still heading towards him and now recovered from its momentary shock, Mr Benson grabbed its tail and took a deep breath. “I’m just holding it then it came back around and my feet were trailing behind and flap near its face,” he said. “So I’ve pulled them in and tucked them underneath the shark. “We were just going around in circles because it was doing that and I was just wrapped around hanging on.” He said he remembered rotating “four or five times” before hearing the motor of the family’s dinghy buzzing nearby and “copping an eyeball of the motor and all of the turbulence”. Finally the shark stopped circling and Mr Benson let go as it dove downwards, giving him a chance to scramble to safety. “I just finned up and next thing I know I’m in the boat on top of Mia,” he said. “Mia is grabbing me, Hollie has dropped down on me. “Everyone had sort of dropped down in the middle of the boat and that’s sort of how it happened. “Then we went in.” Mr Benson said it would have been a traumatic experience for his family on the boat as there would have been “a good 30 seconds of seeing what you thought was actually me being eaten”. “Because they didn’t know I’d speared it or anything,” he said. “They just came up to a shark and a human thrashing around in circles with white water everywhere.” O’Shae, who Mr Benson said had “only just learnt to use” the boat, was able to manoeuvre it into a position for Mr Benson to clamber into. Both Mr and Ms Benson said they were proud of how he handled the situation that has since given him sleepless nights. “He texted me at 1.30am saying ‘Mum, I just can’t sleep. I keep thinking about what happened,’” Ms Benson said. “He did say he was really proud of himself when I took him for a drive last night though.” Ms Benson said it was a horrifying experience for their children, including Mr Benson’s other daughter Ava and Ms Benson’s other son Chaz who were not on the boat. “I was absolutely to the point where I was going to throw up,” she said. “I was on the beach just bawling and Mia was just holding me. “O’Shae thought he was going to throw up and Ava was crying because she could see our reaction.” She said one of the scariest things was how close it had happened to shore. “Two hours beforehand our kids were snorkelling further than that out. “And for the last five or so days Keiron and I had been snorkelling near reef sharks.” Mr Benson said “there would be 100 people” in the water there every day. “My concern, and I think the story I’d like to see out of this, is the fact her place is being overfished — there is no fish left — and there is just so many sharks there now,” he said. “The whole time we were there all we saw was sharks, we would simply just drop a bit of bait in the water out near the barrier reef and within a few minutes there would be a shark there.” He said he was interested to find out what type of shark attacked him – with the Department of Fisheries conducting DNA testing on his spear – and that he had no intention of spearfishing ever again. “I reckon I’m going to be even thinking twice even when I’m just swimming,” he said. “We quite often swim from Emu Point to Middleton Beach and I’ll be hanging close to my mates.” The incident left Mr Benson with just bruising and scratches.