A surfer carries his board into the water next to a sign declaring a shark sighting on Sydney’s Manly Beach, Australia. File/Reuters
The Australian city of Perth is renowned for sharks off its beaches, but on Thursday a shark attacked a man swimming in the city’s Swan River, biting him on the upper leg in the first shark attack in the river since 1969.
The man was attacked by what was likely to be a 2-to-3 metre (6.5-to-9.8 feet) bull shark during a morning swimming off Perth’s Blackwall Reach reserve, officials said.
“There was a fair bit of blood in the water and the bite ... was wrapped right at the top of his thigh,” Kieron Hayter, a local kayaker who helped the man to shore told Nine News. “Was a pretty decent bite.”
He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) in a serious condition, a spokeswoman for the local ambulance service told Reuters. Local media reported the man was in his 50s and was in a stable condition.
RPH did not immediately return requests for comment.
The western Australian city of Perth and its coastline is renowned for Great White sharks and has had several attacks. In recent weeks some beaches have been closed due to an increase in shark sightings.
Attacks in the Swan River which flows into the ocean at the southern port city of Fremantle, just south of Perth, are rare. The last attack was in 1969 and the last reported shark-related fatality in 1923, when another swimmer was bitten on the legs.
The Swan River area where the attack took place was closed to the public until Friday, the state’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) said in an emailed statement.
Police said the teenager was surfing at Wooli Beach, near Grafton, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Sydney in New South Wales state just before 2:30 p.m. when he was attacked.
Several board-riders came to the assistance of the Queensland man and fought the shark off before pulling him to shore at Salt Beach, near Kingscliff, some 800 km (500 miles) north of Sydney.
The 55-year-old man was pulled from the water with serious injuries and treated by police before paramedics arrived, but later succumbed to his injuries.
The man’s identity was not disclosed, other than that he was 32 and from nearby Victoria state. Local media reported he had been holidaying with family at the popular surfing and diving spot and they called the authorities when he failed to return.
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