A potential great white shark attack occurred this morning in Australia, when a teenage surfer was bitten by an unknown shark.
Authorities say the species involved in the shark attack is unknown, but 13-year-old Kirra-Belle Olsson says she was surfing at a popular Australian beach named Avoca Beach early Friday morning when a shark latched onto her leg.
“She’d fallen off her board and she felt something grabbing her leg,” Surf Life Saving New South Wales spokeswoman Donna Wishart said. “She made her own way back to shore, and then other surfers and people on the beach have assisted her and… they put her in a car and drove her to the hospital.”
Kirra-Belle said she had dropped in on the shark with her surfing board, invading the shark’s space in the wave, and in response the shark lashed out by biting her foot and calf three times.
“I paddled in just like in shock, just started laughing. I was like: ‘Whoa, what the hell, I just got bitten by a shark, oh my God,’” Kirra-Belle said. “And then I got halfway carried up the beach… and telling my friend Saxon, ‘take photos, take photos.’”
Fortunately, Kirra-Belle is expected to pull through her injuries without losing any limbs. She has won numerous junior surfing titles, and she’s already looking forward to competing at the national titles in Western Australia state in December.
Great white shark attacks in Australia have unfortunately been common in 2014. Last week, a boater had to fend off a great white shark attack with a paddle. A young surfer lost sections from both arms in a shark attack off the south coast of Western Australia. The Byron Bay shark attack involved a great white shark, and the swimmer was killed in the incident. In response, the debate over great white shark culling efforts have intensified, and two great white sharks were killed by authorities.
According to The National, Avoca Beach will be closed for 24 hours, Wishart explained. Lifeguards will be patrolling the area with jet skis in order to look for the shark involved in the attack.
[Update] It’s possible a great white shark was not involved in this particular shark attack. The Associated Press reports Olsson was “bitten on the left ankle by a 3.5-foot shark while surfing.” Although the exact species was not identified by reports, shark pups for the great white shark can be as long as five feet, which likely means the actual shark was of a different species.