World News

Shark attack: Friends rally to save surfer after Gracetown shark attack

Shark attack: Friends rally to save surfer after Gracetown shark attack

A man suffered leg injuries on Monday after he was attacked by a shark off Australia's southwestern coast, forcing authorities to shut down a nearby worldwide surfing competition.

The Margaret River Pro was initially put on hold by the World Surf League but organisers chose to allow the competition to resume at 10.40am.

In the latest attack, a man suffered minor injuries when he was bitten at Lefthanders beach, with the shark leaving significant bite marks on his surfboard.

A Saint John Ambulance spokesman said the man was conscious and breathing, and was now being flown to Royal Perth Hospital.

The man, in his 30's, was bitten on the lower leg at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown just before 8am on Monday but managed to body surf back to shore before friends used rope from his board as a tourniquet.

Although it has not been confirmed what kind of shark is believed to have attacked the man, earlier this morning Surf Life Saving Western Australia reported several sightings in the area, including a four-metre Great White.

Once news filtered through, the WSL put the event on hold for about an hour. "The #MargiesPro is on hold while we work with local authorities".

"The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority for the WSL".

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Surf photographer Peter Jovic told the ABC there were about five people in the water at the time and the attack echoed pro surfer Mick Fanning's lucky escape at South Africa's Jeffreys Bay.

"A shark popped up and pretty much ended up knocking a surfer from his board", he said.
"There was a lot more thrashing around. We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes".

"We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", the tweet said. "After that it was hard to see what was going on".

Mr Jovic said everyone was "walking around like stunned mullets" after the attack.

According to The West Australian, John John and Nathan Florence encountered two large sharks during a free surf in the days leading up the Margaret River Pro.

"Surfer safety is the foremost of our minds".

A surfer was killed by a shark at Gracetown in 2013.


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