Friday, February 09, 2007

Shark attack on boogie boarder!

A BOOGIE boarder was rushed to hospital with serious leg injuries yesterday after he was bitten by a shark.

Matthew McIntosh, 26, from Goonellabah was on the board when the predator grabbed his left leg.
The victim sustained lacerations to the lower leg and foot and was in a stable condition at Lismore Base Hospital last night.

Charlie Wood, who is filming a television series, Surf Patrol, for Channel Seven and Surf Life Saving Australia on the far North Coast, interviewed the victim immediately after the attack off Black Head, the northern end of Shelly Beach at Ballina.

He said the boogie boarder had caught a wave with two others when the shark swam up from behind.

"There were three surfers on the wave. The boogie boarder didn't even see the shark," he said.
"He felt this massive jolt on his leg and looked down to see blood everywhere.

"He yelled out and everyone got out of the water as they dragged him onto the rocks.

"Nobody saw the shark. There is a lot of bait fish around in the water at the moment and this bloke was wearing a black wetsuit and black flippers, so the shark probably got confused about what it was chasing."

Wood said the victim was in good spirits despite the attack.

"He was sitting up in the ambulance and talking to me before being transferred to the rescue helicopter. He was grateful to be alive," he said.

Westpac rescue helicopter pilot David Milnes said the man was still counting his blessings as they rushed him to hospital.

"He was talking as we transported him - he realised he was pretty lucky."

The incident was the second shark attack in NSW waters within a fortnight.

On January 23, abalone diver Eric Nerhus survived a terrifying attack by a white pointer shark near Eden, on the NSW Far South Coast.

The three-metre predator swallowed his head and shoulders but Mr Nerhus, 41, broke free after poking the shark in the eye. His nose was broken and his torso cut.

Shark expert Harry Mitchell, who is general manager of the McDonald's aerial patrol, said he had noticed increased shark activity along the NSW coast in the past three weeks.

"From what we know about sharks, it was likely that this attack was by a great white, tiger or bull shark," he said.


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