Surfer 'lucky to be alive after Great White attack' at Byron Bay

Surfer 'lucky to be alive after Great White attack' at Byron Bay

Surfer 'lucky to be alive after Great White attack' at Byron Bay

A SURFER has managed to paddle to safety, after being attacked by a shark on the New South Wales north coast.

Police said in a statement Sunday that emergency services were called to Byron Bay around 6:40 a.m. local time, after reports that a man surfing near Belongil Beach was bitten on the leg by a shark.

Edwardes, Donoghue and two mates were windsurfing at Hardwicke Bay in South Australia when the 22-year-old Donoghue chose to stay in the water while his friends returned to shore.

The attack has prompted surf life saving crews to patrol beaches around Byron Bay, sweeping areas on jetski notifying the public of the risk of swimming.

There are 35 smart drumlines on the NSW north coast but the department said they were not in use on Sunday due to rough conditions and large swells along the north coast.

Belongil Beach and Main Beach have been closed for 24-hours.

"There was a lot of thrashing and splashing", he explained before admitting that the extent of the attack was not clear at first.

He started screaming, we didn't realise until we paddled back to the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg.

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His flatmate, Dane Davidson, told media the pair had just entered the water and were paddling out when the shark - believed to be a baby Great White - struck.

Sam Edwardes was lucky to survive the shark bite.

Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said photographs and measurements of bite marks on the board would be provided to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to try to determine what type of shark was involved in the attack.

Matt Kehoe the Detective Inspector and Officer in Charge at Byron Bay Police Station with the surfboard of the shark attack victim.

A Surf Life Saving NSW helicopter was diverted from searching for a missing man at Ballina to scour the coastline, but returned to its original mission when no sharks were spotted by mid-morning. In 2016, a surfer escaped with minor leg injuries after being bitten on a beach between Suffolk Park and Broken Head.

"You always see a couple about, but an encounter like this is unusual", he said.

The shark attack was the second major ocean incident in the area over the weekend. On Sunday a search was continuing for a veteran lifeguard who went missing in unsafe surf at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina.

Four ambulance crews attended the incident and the man was treated before being transported by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

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