TODAY

TODAY   |  November 04, 2010

Man saves woman from jaws of great white

Diving instructor Elyse Frankcom, 19, says Trevor Burns, 48, is her “hero” after he grabbed the tail of a massive great white shark that had clamped down on her legs in the waters off the coast of Perth, Australia. TODAY’s Amy Robach reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> by a great white shark lives to tell about it. today, amy robach has details.

>> reporter: good morning. 19-year-old elyse franckom is still in shock. she was leading a group of divers when the great white came at her. great white sharks are known for size and strength, one of the most frightening creatures under water.

>> to get attacked by a shark, a lot of people don't make it, don't survive. i'm just lucky to be the person that did.

>> reporter: 19-year-old elyse franckom makes her living leading dive tours off the coast of perth, australia. this was no ordinary day at the office. elyse was leading 33 divers on a swim with dolphins when the unthinkable happened.

>> i was kind of pulled aside and then it happened again. i looked and i saw a gray figure in front of me. i got just to the surface and that's when i felt it on my legs. i just kind of jolted.

>> reporter: the massive shark clamped onto her leg.

>> took me inside its mouth. horrifying.

>> reporter: one of the swimmers saw it happen. trevor burns grabbed the shark until it released its grip.

>> i had to get it off her. i grabbed it by the tail and held on for a quick ride.

>> reporter: elyse was rushed to shore where a helicopter was waiting. she remained conscious the entire time. on wednesday, elyse was reunited with the man who saved her life.

>> he's my hero. i wouldn't be here without him.

>> i don't consider myself a hero. i've just done what i was brought up to do. mom and dad told me to look after people. there was no way i was letting elyse be taken by that thing.

>> one leg.

>> reporter: elyse has 200 stitches across the two bite marks. she said she's feeling better already, posting this on facebook -- what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. researchers at the university of florida investigating the attack say it was a great white, 10 to 11 feet long.

>> any time we enter the sea, we are taking a certain amount of risk. of course when we are on a dolphin tour we take an added risk because those are preferred food items of large sharks such as white sharks .

>> reporter: elyse said she will go back to work and get back in the water. she can even bring the shark tooth doctors took out of her body.

>> i sure didn't wake up on saturday expecting to be attacked by a shark. this has just made me realize, do it. you don't know how long you've got.

>> reporter: it's remarkable. doctors expect elyse to make a full recovery. she said she knew she would come into contact with a shark. she just didn't expect it to happen so soon. meredith?