Sunday, March 01, 2009

Teenager victim of a shark attack is doing well, after surgery

A TEENAGE surfer mauled by a shark off Sydney's northern beaches is recovering well in hospital after four hours of surgery on his leg.

Andrew Lindop, 15, was attacked by a shark, believed to be about 2m long, during an early morning surf with his father off North Avalon beach yesterday.

The 6.45am attack prompted renewed warnings about swimming and surfing at dawn or dusk, which are prime feeding times for sharks.

Local surfers said yesterday's conditions had made an attack more likely. Warm waters and coastal rains had attracted large numbers of baitfish to the area, bringing predators with them, The Australian reported.

Marine experts are working to identify the species of shark responsible for the latest attack. Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported it is believed to be a great white.

Andrew's father Charles had just caught a wave when he heard Andrew scream as the shark bit deeply into his left thigh, its teeth penetrating to the bone.

He turned back to see Andrew thrashing about in the water and managed to get him to shore, where local off-duty surf club members helped care for him until paramedics arrived.

Andrew was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) by helicopter, where he spent four hours on the operating table. It is the third attack in Sydney in as many weeks.

A hospital spokesman said Andrew was in a general ward and recovering well from surgery. "Doctors are very happy with the results," he said. "He's resting comfortably in a satisfactory condition."

Club member Volker Klemm said the lifesavers grabbed first aid gear when they saw what was happening and raced across the beach in a buggy. "All the time we were talking to Andrew, how he was feeling.

"He was making even some funny jokes," he said on ABC television.

Surf lifesaver Mike Stanley-Jones said Andrew's father had already wrapped his son's legrope around the wound to stop the bleeding when the lifesavers arrived to help.

He said Andrew's mother was a lifesaving trainer and he and his dad were regulars at the beach. "There was no bleeding but the injuries were large," he told Channel Seven this morning.

Mr Stanley-Jones said he had spoken to the family in the wake of the attack, which forced the closure of several beaches. "They are all in good spirits," he said.

In earlier attacks, Navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder lost a hand and a leg and was lucky to survive after being mauled by a 2.7m bull shark off Garden Island in Sydney Harbour on February 11.

Just a day later, 33-year-old surfer Glenn Orgias was attacked by a 2.5m great white that shook him and nearly severed his left hand.


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