Sunday, 30 December 2012
A surfer was seriously injured in a shark attack on Friday 28 December. The 29-year-old surfer, identified only as 'Luke', was attacked by a bull shark while paddling out around 10:45 am at Diamond Head, south of Port Macquarie. The victim, an experienced surfer, identified the shark as an adult bull shark of about two meters in length.
Prior to the attack, Luke had noticed a pod of dolphins moving through the waves at high speed. A few minutes after the dolphins left, and while Luke was waiting for the next set of waves, he was attacked without warning by the shark.
He received a serious wound to his right thigh and groin area. As Luke tried to push the shark away, his hand entered the shark’s mouth, and he lost his index finger and part of another finger on his left hand. He was able to paddle to the beach under his own power.
Once ashore, Luke’s friends used their legropes to make a tourniquet and stopped the bleeding from his thigh. According to the paramedics who arrived on the scene, the quick thinking of his friends saved Luke’s life. One of the surfers called the emergency services and Paramedics arrived quickly by Rescue Helicopter, stabilized Luke, and transported him by chopper to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital in serious but stable condition.
The shark’s species will be confirmed when marine biologists identify the tooth that was pulled from the remains of the young man’s surfboard. Bull sharks are notoriously aggressive, often attacking any animal that invades its territory. They prefer shallow water, and this makes the bull shark highly dangerous to human beings. They are one of four species of shark most likely to attack humans, along with the tiger shark, oceanic whitetip, and great white shark.
Diamond Head is an unpatrolled beach and therefore lacks regular shark spotters and onsite paramedics. If Luke had not been surfing with good friends who didn’t panic and quickly applied first aid, he might not have survived the attack.