An Australian surfer has been listed in critical condition after experiencing a shark attack Saturday, which resulted in severe injuries to his legs.
The 26-year-old man was surfing in Port Lincoln national park, roughly 350 meters from the shore at Fishery Bay, when the shark struck, according to the Guardian. Following the attack, which took place around 9:50 a.m., the unnamed surfer was taken to Port Lincoln Hospital and was then airlifted to Adelaide for further treatment relating to life-threatening injuries.
Witnesses at the scene of the attack believe that the shark, which struck the surfer, was a great white measuring around six-meters-long. According to the Daily Mail, another surfer who was in the water at the time of the attack reported seeing the white shark swimming away with part of the man’s leg and surfboard in its mouth. At least 12 other people were in the water nearby when the shark struck.
Another witness at the scene, who was reportedly 50 meters away from the attack, said he had no doubt that the shark was a great white, citing its massive pectoral fin.
“I was just watching the shark go out to the ocean with his board still attached,” he said. “Obviously the shark still had his leg and he was still swimming around with it.”
Police and Fisheries officials were working to post warning signs following the attack and noted that the incident took place under conditions that are known to be dangerous. Overcast weather makes it not only difficult for surfers to spot nearby sharks, but also may help confuse the predators, which use sunlight to hunt. It is widely believed among surfers that shark attacks are the result of mistaken identity, as the silhouette of a surfer can sometimes resemble that of a seal. That assertion is currently being studied in South Africa, home to one of the world’s largest populations of great white sharks, as the Inquisitr has previously reported.
Large sharks are commonplace in Australian waters, and at least one surfer has already fallen victim to a white shark this year. As Wildcatch Fisheries SA chairman Jonas Woolford noted, sightings of sharks in the region have been on the rise in recent weeks.
“There has been a number of sightings just recently actually at a number of locations along the coast near to Fishery Bay, just around the corner, the sightings have said that the sharks have been rather aggressive actually,” he noted.
Authorities have yet to confirm the species of shark responsible for the attack or the full extent of the surfer’s injuries.
[Image via Today]