A SPEAR "fired into the guts" of a five-metre great white shark is the only thing that saved a pairs of mates as they swam off the West Australian coast last year.

Matt Pullella, 17, has told his tale of escape to Nine's A Current Affair overnight, and of having to leave his mate behind.

He had been in the water with friend Jay Muscat, also 17, at Cheynes Beach near Albany, when they became the target of the great white.

"There was a tremendous amount of weight on my back," he told ACA.

"It was like I'd just been king hit from behind."
 

Spearfisher Matt Pullella, 17, tells the story of how he fought off the shark that killed his mate off Western Australia
Spearfisher Matt Pullella, 17, tells the story of how he fought off the shark that killed his mate off Western Australia

After the initial shock, Matt realised the shark was on the attack, targeting his mate Jay.

"This shark hanging off Jay, and he was kind-of kicking ... just to keep his head above the water, I guess.

"And five metres of white hanging off him."

Jay blacked out after the shark opened his femoral artery.

Matt told of the "massive set of jaws coming straight for me" through the bloodied water.

He remembered being told to shot the shark in the nostril, but instead pointed the spear gun into the shark's mouth and fired it "down its throat and into its guts".

Matt then swam to nearby rocks, about 30m away.

He would later wave down a passing boat to retrieve Mr Muscat's body from the water.

Matt told ACA that sharks should be culled if they're dangerous or attacking people, but said there should be better sharing of shark sightings.

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