Authorities are on the hunt for a great white shark off the northern coast of Australia following an attack that left a bodyboarder in critical condition, fighting for his life.
Mathew Lee, 32, was bodyboarding with friends off Lighthouse Beach in Ballina, New South Wales, when he was attacked by the great white shark, according to the Daily Mail. Lee suffered severe injuries to his legs, and two of his friends managed to pull him to shore and perform CPR following the attack. They reportedly tied the ropes from their boards around Lee’s legs in an effort to stem his bleeding.
— Jo Hall (@Jo_Hall9) July 2, 2015
A medical team was delivered to the beach by helicopter, and they worked to stabilize Lee before he was flown to Gold Coast University Hospital. In a statement, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter team related that their chopper had been re-tasked, helping to aid in the search for the shark.
Beaches in the region were closed for 24 hours following the shark attack, and lifeguards are patrolling the area on jetskis and inflatable boats. Helicopters were able to spot a great white shark in the area, though it is unclear if that is the exact animal responsible for attacking Lee.
At the request of police, the Department of Primary Industries issued a permit, known as a Section 37 notice, which allows the killing of a protected species like a great white shark. A controversial measure that has been used in the past, as the Inquisitr previously noted, the permit will allow authorities to put down the white shark if they are able to find it.
— 7 News Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) July 2, 2015
Ballina Mayor David Wright doubted whether the shark responsible would be located and killed, as the ABC reports, pointing to the difficulty inherent in chasing an animal through the region’s sand bars. He also noted that it would be “rather difficult” to identify which great white was responsible. Wright pointed out that several key factors worked in Lee’s favor following the shark attack.
“Not only did he have his mates pull him in and a person on the beach ring triple-0 straight away, the helicopter has only started carrying blood this week,” he observed. “That’s helped save his life, too, because he was able to have a transfusion.”
Though authorities continue their search for the shark, a planned surfing competition taking place 10 kilometers north of the attack site will go forward if the great white is not found by first light.
[Image: Nine News via Twitter]