News24

Australian man survives shark attack

2012-12-28 12:00

Sydney - A man survived an attack by a shark off Australia's east coast on Friday, but lost a finger and suffered a serious bite to the thigh, ambulance officials said.

The 29-year-old was on a paddle board at Diamond Head near Port Macquarie, 390km north of Sydney, when he was mauled.

"A rescue helicopter was called," a New South Wales ambulance spokesperson said.

"On arrival paramedics found a man with shark bites, allegedly from a bull shark, to his right hand and right thigh.

"The man lost his index finger and knuckle as a result of the attack."

He was stabilised at the scene before being rushed to hospital.

The Port Macquarie News said the man was surfing with friends when a pod of dolphins came through the waves.

About 10 minutes later the shark hit him three times and he was injured trying to fend it off.

Adam Eady, from the Crowdy Head Surf Life Saving Club, said beaches in the area had closed as a precaution.

"At this time of year, it really is unusual for sharks to be around this close in," he said.

Sharks are common in Australian waters and while fatalities are rare, experts say attacks are increasing in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

A 24-year-old surfer died in July after being bitten in half in a savage attack north of the Western Australia capital Perth, the fifth such fatality in that region in less than a year.