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Surfer fends off shark that bit his leg at Australian beach

November 7, 2018 12:52 PM
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—A man used his surfboard to fend off a shark that bit him on his calf off an Australian beach two days after a fatal attack on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lee Jonsson, a 43-year-old teacher aide at a local school, was bitten Wednesday at Shelly Beach off Ballina in New South Wales state. Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara died at the same beach in 2015 after a great white shark 3 to 4 metres long tore off both his legs.

Government shark experts measured the tooth imprints in Jonsson’s surfboard and concluded a juvenile great white shark 2.6 metres long was responsible.

Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said Jonsson came onshore after he was bitten while lying on his board, wrapped his leg and went to the hospital for treatment of a 20-centimetre wound.

“It dragged him off and he fought the shark with his board,” Wright said. “It’s one of those unfortunate things.”

On Monday, a shark killed a man in a harbour in the Whitsunday Islands, where two tourists were mauled in September. The islands are 1,300 kilometres north of Ballina.

The victim, 33-year-old doctor Daniel Christidis, had been diving from a paddle board while on a yacht cruise. Police Inspector Steve O’Connell said the group included other doctors who worked to save him but Christidis was injured too severely.

The spate of attacks in the Whitsundays has left authorities struggling to explain an apparent escalation in danger in the internationally renowned vacation destination. In September, two Australian tourists were mauled on consecutive days, one a 12-year-old girl who lost a leg.

Tourism Whitsundays general manager Natassia Wheeler said Christidis’ group of 10 friends had been warned when they rented the yacht not to swim in the harbour where he was attacked.

Source: thestar.com

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