An Australian prawn-fishing crew was forced to make a 20-hour trip for medical help that included running their boat aground, after one of its fisherman was bitten by a shark he was trying to free from a net, the Northern Territory News reported Thursday.

Quentin Gorrell, 43, was trying to untangle a shark caught in a device meant to stop unwanted marine life from getting into nets when the animal tore into his right index finger.

"We were wrestling it and trying to free it and it swung around and got me," Gorrell told the Northern Territory News.

On the way to the Royal Darwin Hospital the fishing vessel, named Xanadu, became stuck in the mud, sparking fears it would roll.

"We got totally bogged and could feel we were starting to go over," Gorrell told the Northern Territory News.

"We couldn't believe it — the wharf was seriously spitting distance away. It was a case of so close but so far."

A police rescue boat took Gorrell from the ship to the hospital, where he is due to have surgery on his hand on Thursday. The rest of the crew stuck it out on Xanadu until the tide came back in and they were able to refloat.

Click here to read more on this story from the Northern Territory News.