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It was more like swimming in a pool rather than the deep ocean waters in Kauai, Hawaii. The waves were small and inconsistent, and I was just rolling along with them, relaxing on my surfboard with my left arm dangling in the cool water. I remember thinking, I hope the surf picks up soon, when suddenly there was a flash of grey.

That was all it took: a split second. I felt a sudden great pressure and a couple of fast tugs. I saw the jaws of a four-and-a-half-meter tiger shark cover the top of my board and my left arm. Then I watched in shock as the water around me turned bright red. My left arm was gone almost to the armpit, along with a huge, crescent-shaped chunk of my red, white and blue surfboard.

Lying on my surfboard, watching my blood spread in the water around me, I said to my friends nearby, in a loud, yet calm voice, "I've just got attacked by a shark."

Byron and Holt got to me in a flash. Holt's face was white, and his eyes were wide with shock. But, he took control of the situation: he pushed me by the tail of my board, and I caught a small wave that washed me over the reef. Fortunately, it was high tide. If it had been low tide, we would have had to go all the way around the reef to get to shore. As it was, the beach was still about 400 meters away.

My arm was bleeding badly, but not spewing blood like it should with a major artery open. I know now that wounds like mine often cause the arteries to roll back and tighten. I was praying like crazy: "Please, God, help me. Let me get to the beach," over and over again.

Holt took off his grey long-sleeved shirt. The reef was shallow now, less than a meter deep, so he stood and tied the shirt around the stub of my arm to act as a tourniquet. Then he had me grab onto the bottom of his swimming trunks and hold on tight as he paddled both of us towards the shore. Byron was already ahead of us, stroking like crazy to the beach to call an ambulance. Holt kept having me answer questions like, "Bethany, are you still with me ? How are you doing ?" I think he wanted to make sure that I did not pass out in the middle of the ocean. So I was talking, just answering his questions, praying out loud an watching the beach get closer and closer.

Once we reached the shore, Holt lifted me off the surfboard and laid me on the sand. He then tied a surfboard leash around my arm to stop the bleeding. At that point, everything went black, and I was not sure how long I was out of it. I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. what happened after that was confusing, a mix of sights, sounds and feelings. I remember being cold.

I heard this happens when you lose a lot of blood. People brought beach towels and wrapped me up in them.

I remember starting to feel pain in my stump and thinking, This hurts a lot. And I know I said, "I want my mum !" I remember being very thirsty and asking Alana for water. So she ran up to a visitor, Fred Murray, who had heard cries for help and dashed to the beach while the rest of his group, here on Kauai for a family reunion, relaxed at a beachfront rental home.

"Come with me !" he yelled, and they both raced back to get one of his family members, a man named Paul Wheeler, who was a captain and a paramedic at a Californian fire station. Alana explained to him, as best as she could in her state of shock, what had happened and that I needed water.

Paul did not hesitate. He bolted out the door to be by my side. I remember his face and the compassion in his voice. I think everyone was relieved that there was a professional on the scene; I know it comforted me. Paul examined the wound. Alana came with water, but Paul advised against it. "I know you're thirsty," he told me, "but you're going to need surgery, and you will need an empty stomach."

A neighbor brought a small first-aid kit, and Paul slipped on gloves so that he could wrap my wound in gauze to keep it clean. I remember wincing as he covered it up, but I knew he had to do it. Paul felt my pulse. He shook his head. "She's lost a lot of blood," he said quietly.

I remember thinking, Why is the ambulance taking so long to get here ? Please, please hurry ! Holt decided we could not wait any longer. He, Paula and Fred Murray lifted me onto Holt's surfboard and carried me to the car park where they put me in the back of the Blanchards' truck. Again, I kept passing out, only catching glimpses of what was going on and bits of frantic conversation. Then, at some point, emergency vehicles arrived. I remember their sirens, high-pitched and shrill. I remember being jabbed with needles and being slid onto a stretcher and into the back of the ambulance. I remember most clearly what the Kauai paramedic said to me. He spoke softly and held my hand as we were pulling out of the Tunnels parking lot. "God will never leave you or forsake you."

From paragraph 1-2 :
  1.

(a) Where did this incident take place ?

(b) What had attacked the writer, Bethany ?

(c) What injuries were inflicted on Bethany from this attack ?

   

From paragraph 4 :

  2.

Explain briefly why it was fortunate that it was high tide at that time.

    From paragraph 6 :
  3.

Give a two-word phrase that means the same as 'faint'.

    From paragraph 7-8 :
  4.

State two physical symptoms that Bethany experienced due to the loss of blood.

    From paragraph 9-12 :
  5.

(a) Why was everyone especially comforted over the presence of Paul Wheeler ?

(b) How do you think Bethany was taken to hospital ?

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Answers
 

1.

(a) It took place in Kauai, Hawaii.

(b) A tiger shark

(c) Her left arm was bitten off almost to the armpit.

 

2.

As it was high tide, Holt was able to push Bethany over the reef on her surfboard. If it had been low tide, they would have had to go all the way around the reef to get to shore.

 

3.

Pass out

 

4.

(i) Feeling cold

(ii) Feeling thirsty

 

5.

(a) He was a captain and a paramedic at a fire station.

(b) She was taken to hospital by ambulance.

 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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