Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Shark attacks surfer in Western Australia

Shark attacks surfer in Western Australia

A surfer has been taken to hospital after a shark attack in Gracetown, Western Australia.

A shark attack on a surfer in Australia has forced the temporary suspension of an global surfing competition.

The man was reported to be in a stable condition.

A spokeswoman said he was being assessed and would later be transferred to the trauma unit.

Witnesses said the shark knocked the surfer off his board, stunning onlookers, before the injured man managed to "body surf" back to shore.

He said paramedics on the ground reported that first aid from the man's friends was crucial in the moments after the attack, as they used a leg rope to stem blood flow.

Mr Robertson said he had been at the beach on the day of a fatal shark attack 14 years ago.

"That's the reason I don't get in the water".

We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown.

Surf photographer Peter Jovic told the ABC that the man body-surfed to the beach after a shark pushed him off his board.

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"A shark popped up and pretty much ended up knocking a surfer from his board", Jovic said. "There was a lot more thrashing around".

It is understood the man has lived in Gracetown for some time, with one friend describing him as "an awesome guy".

When emergency crews arrived, the victim was treated and then airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital via helicopter.

Surf Life Saving WA said a shark was spotted at 8.45am local time at nearby Cobblestones surfing spot.

Beach closures are in place around Gracetown including North Point, Big Rock and Left Handers and fisheries officers are monitoring the area.

The Margaret River Pro global surfing competition which is taking place nearby has been put on hold while organisers wait for information from local authorities.

"The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority", a spokeswoman said.

"Surfer and staff safety are top priorities for the WSL and when competition resumes, further enhanced safety measures, including ski and drone presence, will be added to the event's mitigation protocols".

Father-of-two Nicholas Edwards died after being attacked by a large shark at South Point break near Gracetown in 2010.

"We are placing the Margaret River Pro on hold while we work with local authorities on next steps".

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