Formula 1 star Eddie Irvine tells of battle with seven foot shark

Eddie Irvine Eddie Irvine was diving in the Bahamas when he had a close encounter with a shark

Related Stories

Former Formula One racing driver Eddie Irvine has described how he faced the chase of his life after he fought off a 7ft (2.1m) shark with a spear.

The retired racing star from Northern Ireland was swimming and spear fishing for dinner near his Bahamas home.

Suddenly, the 48-year-old came face to face with the shark.

"I hit a big snapper, but the spear went right through it. A big ray came past me and behind it was a 7ft lemon shark," he said.

"It was swimming more aggressively than I had seen before.

"My island is surrounded by them, but normally they are just three or four footers.

Start Quote

There was nothing I could do until he got within about 3ft (0.9m), when I could jab him with my spear”

End Quote Eddie Irvine

"I watched him and started making for shore and he started to follow me - I swam backwards keeping my eye on him and he circled again - then he just came straight for me.

"There was nothing I could do until he got within about 3ft (0.9m), when I could jab him with my spear."

Irvine, who drove for Jordan, Ferrari and Jaguar over a nine-year Formula 1 career, said he hit the shark "somewhere on the nose" and it turned away but circled back. He said he scrambled on to nearby rocks as the shark returned once more.

"There are lots of sharks here," he said, "I saw a 12ft (3.7m) tiger the other day from the boat."

Earlier this month, Irvine, 48, faced trouble of a different kind when he was sentenced to six months in jail by an Italian court.

He was convicted after a brawl with an Italian man in a Milan nightclub.

Irvine, and Gabriele Moratti, the son of a former Milan mayor, were found guilty of "mutual injury".

It is not yet clear if the retired racing driver will actually have to serve time in jail.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Northern Ireland stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • An ant and a humanMass of bodies

    Do all the world's ants really weigh as much as all the humans?


  • Taxi in Mexico Freewheeling

    How I got my driving licence without taking a test


  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos


  • Indian coupleSuspicious spouses

    Is your sweetheart playing away? Call Delhi's wedding detective


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game

Programmes

  • StudentsClick Watch

    Could a new social network help tailor lessons to students’ needs and spot when they fall behind?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.