Paul Marshallsea, a 62-year-old Welsh charity worker was revered as a hero after he risked his life and wrestled a 6-foot shark away from children at an Australian beach.
Marshallsea was enjoying his time off in Australia — barbecuing on the Sunshine Coast — when he heard a desperate father-of-three cry, “Help, shark!” Marshallsea sprang into action. As the 62-year-old attempted to move the shark away from shore, a local news team as well as terrified onlookers grabbed their cameras and recorded his brave efforts. The story immediately caught international attention as uploaded images of the shark-wrestling hero spread around the world.
Unfortunately for Marshallsea, the video landed on the screens of the trustees of the Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club, the children’s charity for which he worked. After leaving Australia, Marshallsea, who has been absent and “ill” with “work-related stress” since April 2012, arrived to his home in South Wales and found a letter from his employers stating:
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 appearing in newspapers and television broadcasts.
The shark-wrestler and his wife Wendy were shocked with the news — finding it unbelievable that a children’s charity would fire Paul for attempting to save childrens lives. “If I hadn’t gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job,” Marshallsea told WalesOnline.
Marshallsea said he hardly escape the encounter without injury. “He turned on me and just missed me with a bite,” he revealed to reporters. “The shark nearly took my leg off in a split second, it was that quick.”
Marshallsea may have been able to keep his leg, but the shark took his job.