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'The shark had me, Deano is an absolute hero': Mum dragged from jaws of beast praises amazing husband

Mirror logo Mirror 25/04/2017 Louie Smith

The couple's two children saw the attack from the beach © Facebook The couple's two children saw the attack from the beach Frankie Gonsalves was enjoying a dip on her holiday when the 8ft shark grabbed her.

When a ravenous shark clamped its jaw around wife Frankie’s leg, terrified Dean Gonsalves knew he had to act quickly to save her life. 

So the 40-year-old punched the 8ft-long beast on the nose several times, forcing it to release its deadly grip.

He then dragged badly injured Frankie out of the water, with the Galapagos shark still circling menacingly – as their horrified ­children Katie, 11, and Louis, seven, looked on from the beach.

  © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited   And Dean was last night hailed a hero for the dramatic rescue of his wife, 40.

Frankie’s Achilles tendon was severed in the attack 25 metres off Ascension Island and ligaments in her foot and ankle were badly damaged.

Speaking on Facebook of her ordeal, she said: “I was attacked by a shark. The b-----d chomped on my foot and calf. Dean Gonsalves beat it up good and proper and sent it on its way.

“What an absolute hero. Kids ­traumatised by seeing the whole thing unfold in front of them.” Frankie’s dad Irving Benjamin, 70, of Deal, Kent, added: “Dean is a hero to us.

Credits: Getty Images © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty Images “We are just glad that she’s alive and was not taken by the shark. When I was told I thought the worst. It is scary to think how close I was to losing a child.

“And how lucky we were it was not our grandchildren in the water. I have spoken to Frankie, she’s in good spirits.”

British couple Frankie and Dean were on holiday snorkelling off Ascension Island in the South Atlantic when the shark struck.

Friend Paul Tyson, who has spoken to the victim in hospital, said: “Frankie didn’t see the shark coming, the first thing she knew was when it clamped on to her leg.

Credits: Getty Images © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty Images "Thankfully, Dean was close and aware that if you hit a shark on the nose it’s quite disturbing for them. So he punched the thing and then it let go and they managed to get out of the water. Dean is a hero.

“Their children were on the beach and saw the whole thing. They are obviously very shaken.

“Frankie didn’t feel any pain because of the ­adrenaline. When she came out of the water she was saying to the kids, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine.’ But they could see her leg and knew that it wasn’t fine.

“The thought of the kids being in the water and getting bitten is ­traumatising Frankie.” Dean even managed to joke about his heroics, telling friends: “Who would’ve known how hard a shark’s head was?”

Credits: Daily Mirror © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Daily Mirror It is the first reported attack off ­Ascension. Local marine expert Craig Hall, 47, said: “We never had sharks but a year ago they arrived in huge numbers.

“Now they are absolutely ­everywhere, eating ­everything. Galapagos sharks are not known man-eaters, I share the water with them all the time. But recently they have been behaving very badly because there’s not enough food around to sustain them.” 

Frankie was last night in hospital and is due to be airlifted to Britain today. The family left two years ago to live on nearby St Helena where she is a social worker and Dean fits house alarms.

They were ­travelling to the UK for a holiday when their ship to Cape Verde docked at ­Ascension for a shore break.

St Helena is a British ­Overseas Territory 1,150 miles off Africa that also includes the islands of ­Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

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