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Shark attack victim speaks out

Litia Vulaidausiga
Monday, August 25, 2014

SHARK attack survivors are not a common feature at business seminars, but it was with ease that Paul de Gelder commanded the attention of about 450 participants of the Certified Practising Accountants Congress in Nadi.

The Australian recounted in gory details the horror of the 2009 attack in Sydney Harbour, where he lost a chunk of his right leg and right forearm to a shark during a training exercise.

The limbs were eventually amputated and the navy clearance diver was forced to reconcile himself to the dramatic change.

"I had to figure out what I wanted; go military style and move on or go feel sorry for myself — the decision really came down to whether I wanted a good life or bad life," he said.

Now a motivational speaker across Australia, he spoke candidly about forcing himself to adapt to his situation after losing his limbs.

"I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with my life — look at the things I still had in my life. Negativity will not help you achieve anything, it achieves nothing."

This is his third trip to Fiji, with previous travels including filming a documentary on swimming with sharks for 60 Minutes.

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