Surfer severely mauled by shark in Australia

SYDNEY • A surfer was severely mauled by a shark off Australia’s east coast, officials said yesterday, the latest in a series of attacks in recent months.

The 36-year-old was surfing near Scotts Head Beach some 490km north of Sydney in the morning when he was bitten, New South Wales state police said.

“The man suffered a severe leg injury below his knee on his right leg,” a NSW Ambulance spokesman told AFP. “He had five deep lacerations and he suffered a lot of blood loss.”

He was in the water with several other surfers when he disappeared, Surf Life Saving NSW said.

“One of them has seen him disappeared under the water, with a flume of water spraying up and then the victim has lifted his arm up to indicate he was having a problem,” Surf Life Saving spokeswoman Donna Wishart told national broadcaster ABC.

The man was flown to a hospital in serious condition. Officials said it was not yet known what shark species was involved.

The attack was the eighth off Australian beaches in three months amid public debate about how to reduce the risk of encounters between sharks and the growing number of people using the ocean for leisure.

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, has trialled non-lethal measures such as aerial drones to track shark movements and “smart” drum lines that alert authorities to their presence.

Australia has one of the world’s highest incidences of shark attacks, but fatalities remain rare. — AFP