A 62-year-old British man – a grandpa who became an Internet sensation after wrestling with a shark on an Australian beach – says he was fired after his employer discovered he'd been abroad while on sick leave.
Paul Marshallsea was filmed yanking a six-foot- (1.8-meter-) long shark away from waders at Caloundra beach near Brisbane in January.
Many called him a hero. But his intervention also caught the eye of his employer, the Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club, a Welsh charity. Marshallsea had been on leave since April after saying he was suffering from work-related stress.
In a letter to Mr Marshallsea, the club said the footage appeared to show the 62-year-old had returned to health. The letter read: “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.”
Marshallsea also WalesOnline he was unhappy at his treatment, adding that his doctor had advised him to take a vacation. “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 is the father of three and a grandfather of one.
A man who answered the phone at the charity Wednesday said no one was immediately available for comment.