Two surfers attacked by sharks on Western Australia coast
Man in his 30s taken to Royal Perth hospital after being bitten on the leg while a 41-year-old surfer was treated at beach for minor injuries
Two people have been bitten by sharks while surfing off the same stretch of Western Australia’s southwest coast on Monday.
A 37-year-old man was bitten on the lower leg at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown. Near the Margaret River Pro surfing tournament. Just before 8am and managed to bodysurf back to shore.
Friends used the rope from the victim’s board as a tourniquet and provided first aid until emergency crews arrived from Margaret river within six minutes, a St John Ambulance spokesman said
The victim was flown to Royal Perth hospital where he remains in a stable condition and will have surgery.
A second man was bitten while surfing off Lefthanders beach about 2.30pm.
Jason Longrass, 41, told reporters in Gracetown that he had not heard about the first shark attack and did not know the beach was closed, saying he thought he was lucky to find it so empty.He identified the shark as a 4m long great white shark and said he managed to push it off after it bit his board and return to shore. He was treated by paramedics at the beach.
The Margaret River Pro, about 15km away from the first attack but also close to the second, was suspended for about one hour before resuming at Main Break with enhanced safety measures including skis and drones.
“We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown,” organisers said on Monday morning. “The #MargiesPro is on hold while we work with local authorities.
“The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority. We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes.”
Beach closures are in place including at North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders.
The first incident was reported on the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed. Which broadcasts reports of shark sightings just before 9am local time.
Surf photographer Peter Jovic told the ABC that the man bodysurfed to the beach after a shark pushed him off his board.“A shark popped up and pretty much ended up knocking a surfer from his board,” Jovic said. “There was a lot more thrashing around. After that it was hard to see what was going on.”
Jovic said he saw the man catch a wave, “which he managed to bodysurf all the way in”.
“The surfer who was being attacked ended up miraculously bodysurfing into a little wave and getting pushed in by a local at the same time, who was out there with him, and making it to shore before everyone came to his aid.”
Department Of Fisheries
The Department of Fisheries sent officers to investigate the incident. Under an agreement with the federal government, WA fisheries officers are authorised to kill sharks that are identified as causing an “serious threat” to human life, such as those involved in an attack.
The carcass of a beaked whale was discovered on a nearby beach. Whale carcasses have been known to attract sharks.
There have been three fatal shark attacks in the area since 2004, when Bradley Smith was fatally mauled by a great white. Chris Boyd, 35, was killed at nearby Umbies surf break in 2013. Nick Edwards, 31, also died after a shark attack while surfing at nearby South Point in 2010.
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