LONDON – A British man hailed as a hero for wrestling a shark away from an Australian beach said Tuesday he had been fired after it emerged that he was on sick leave at the time.
Paul Marshallsea, a 62-year-old charity worker from Wales, won praise in January when he ran into the sea near Brisbane to grapple with the 1.8 meter shark, fearing it would attack paddling children.
A local television crew caught the incident on camera and images of him pulling the creature away from the beach were beamed around the world. But they also caught the eye of his employers, the Pant and Dowlais Boys’ and Girls’ Club children’s charity — who were not pleased to see Marshallsea at the beach when he was on sick leave with stress.
Marshallsea says he and his wife, Wendy — who also worked for the charity and was also on sick leave when they went on holiday — returned to their home in the town of Merthyr Tydfil to find letters informing them that they had been fired.
“Where do I now get a job? There’s not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil,” he told the WalesOnline website.