13 Mar 2013

Shark grab gets worker on sick leave the sack

4:56 pm on 13 March 2013

A British charity worker has been sacked after his bosses saw footage of him wrestling a shark in Australia while he was on sick leave for stress.

Paul Marshallsea, who is 62 and from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, grabbed the shark by the tail as it swam towards children and dragged it to deeper water off Bulcock Beach in Queensland.

His story made headlines across the world and lifeguards praised him.

But he has now been sacked by the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club which said it had lost confidence in him.

Mr Marshallsea and his wife were on extended sick leave for work-related stress.

They visited friends on a two-month break in Australia and were having a barbecue on the beach when a fin was spotted in the water.

Mr Marshallsea ran into the sea where he was filmed dragging the 1.8m dusky whaler shark into deeper water.

The charity's former project co-ordinator, said: "If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job."

In a letter to Mr Marshallsea trustees of the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club said: "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way.

"The photographs and footage appeared in newspapers and television broadcasts."