Shark Mauls Surfer: Brett Connellan Loses Majority Of Thigh In Attack

A professional surfer was viciously mauled by a shark in the waters off Bombo Beach, Australia, this past Wednesday.

Brett Connellan, 22, is a lifelong surfer native to Kiama, New South Wales, Australia. Aside from surfing in general, he is also the store manager of DP Surfboards Australia, located in Thirroul. He was a little over 300 feet out in the water of Bombo Beach on Wednesday when people on the beach began to realize something terrible was happening to the surfer.

“The first thing I saw was Brett getting thrashed about in the water,” Joel Trist, the victim’s friend and a fellow surfer, told CNN.

He explained that the sight was followed up by the blood-curdling sound of a “terrible scream” from Connellan.

Trist didn’t hesitate. He told the Guardian that he acted on instinct to go save his friend, swimming toward the shark attack.

“Acting on instinct, I just paddled as hard as I could towards him and even lost sight of him at one stage,” Joel explained.

The heroic surfer pulled his buddy onto a board and pulled him to shore.

“I just said to him, ‘what’s it like?’ and he said ‘it’s not good’ and at that point I knew something was horribly wrong,” Trist went on to explain in the same statement.

When they got to the shore the damage was immediately apparent to bystanders. There was a bite mark of a shark in his left thigh, where he was missing the majority of that part of his limb. According to a paramedic that spoke to Fairfax Media, Connellan was “missing three-quarters of his thigh.”

It appeared that the surfer also attempted to fight off the shark. Connellan sustained severe trauma to one of his hands as proof of his attempts.

Once on shore, two off-duty nurses realized the surfer could bleed out and walked Trist through the application of a tourniquet.

“I grabbed his leg rope and tied it as hard as I could around the top of his thigh,” said Trist.

Paramedics arrived to the grisly shark attack scene and airlifted Connellan to St. George Hospital in Sydney.

“[The surfer] had lost a large proportion of his left thigh, and the quad muscle was torn away right down to the bone,” Terry Morrow, an Ambulance Service spokesperson, told a local newspaper according to USA Today.

“[The surfer] could’ve bled to death before we arrived on scene. He was very lucky the members of the public were there and acted as they did.”

The surfer is in critical, but stable condition at this time and has reported to the press that he did not see the shark that attacked him.

“The man has told police he was attacked in the water about 100m offshore but did not see the shark,” a spokesperson from the New South Wales state police department told the Sun Daily.

An investigation into what kind of shark it was that mauled the surfer is underway, but experts have indicated that they have the possibilities narrowed down to two.

Michael Brown, a shark expert from Surf Watch Australian, told the Seven Network that the injuries were very specific to a couple of shark types.

“If we look at the horrific injury, it’s probably fairly obvious it’s a great white [shark] or a bronze whaler,” Brown said.

The expert is leaning more toward the possibility that it was a great white shark. The reason stems from the fact that the surfer was in the water around dusk, which is when certain types of shark are actively hunting.

“Especially [a shark] like [the] great white. They have a greater ability to be able to see in low light,” he said.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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