He’s spoken about his ordeal.
He’s spoken about his ordeal.
A fisherman has spoken out about surviving a terrifying shark attack as he went diving with friends in Western Australia's Kimberley region.

Brett Highlands told 7NEWS a shark grabbed his arm like a dog grips a bone - before he used his spear to escape the jaws of a killer.

For a split second, Brett thought he was about to die in the sea off Broome, but he survived to tell the tale.

He was spear-fishing with mates in remote waters - 50 kilometres north of Broome on Friday for his 48th birthday.

"Really dark blue, eerie, there was a lot of unusual fish in the water," he said.

Suddenly, Brett became the bait.

"I didn't have a lot of time to think but I do remember thinking oh my god here we go this is it," he said.

The shark's initial bite was strangely gentle.

"It bit - then it bit again - almost like a dog trying to get a good grip of a bone," he added.

"I just rammed the spear into what I could see was the belly of the shark and it just released straight away and shot off."

Soon Brett did the same - he started swimming, travelling 80 metres to the boat.

"Just backstroked, kept looking under the water to see if it's coming at me," Brett said.

His friends used a diving belt as a tourniquet for the half-hour ride to Broome where they were greeted by emergency services, on the sand before being flown to Perth for surgery.

Brett has shared his story of survival.

His partner Hannah was by his side every step of the way.

"Even though they've got great hands working on him you don't know what the outcome is going to be, or the extent of the damage," Hannah said.

Incredibly, surgeons at Royal Perth Hospital managed to re-attach every tendon.

The only danger now is infection, but Brett's facing his new battle with trademark humour.

"I'll say the story will get bigger - that shark will be six metres by the time I'm a grandpa," he said.

Fisheries have taken samples of Brett's wetsuit to confirm whether it was a tiger shark.

There were seven attacks in WA in 2020 and there have already been eight this year.

Brett's still stunned one of those was him.

"Sometimes they say things happen for a reason and I'd broken my spear gun only ten minutes before that so I should've just finished my dive and got out of the water," he said.

Back in the water

Brett got back in the water and he will again - next time with a shark shield.

"We all know the dangers when we get in the water, it's their territory. But we choose to do it," he said.

Brett and Hannah will head home to Broome, as soon as possible.

"I think it's the best outcome out of a terrible situation," Hannah said.