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Shark Attack: Teen Dead


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Shark attack: teen dead

Dylan Welch

April 8, 2008 - 9:54AM

A teenage boy has died after being attacked by a shark near Byron Bay, the Ambulance Service says.

Emergency services were called to Lighthouse Beach in Ballina, on the state's north coast, about 8.15am and found a 16-year-old boy with a shark bite to his leg.

Despite their efforts the boy died.

Surf Life Saving spokesman Steven Leahy described the teen as Caucasian and said he suffered "several" bites to his leg.

"We've closed all the beaches in the Ballina Shire," he said.

Mr Leahy said the two teenagers had been boogie boarding near North Wall on Lighthouse Beach just before 8am when the attack happened.

"One of them at the time was attacked by a shark. He yelled out to his mate and the mate went to assist him and realised he'd been attacked.

"He was brought up onto the beach and his mate has called triple-0 and started to assist him but he's died.," Mr Leahy said.

The teen who died was from the region, but not from Ballina, he said.

Another Surf Life Saving NSW spokesman, Craig Roberts, said the boy suffered two large bites, one to the leg and one to the body.

The shark had not been spotted since, and crews were out looking for it.

"The patient came in with another gentleman and lifeguards attended the scene," Mr Roberts told ABC radio.

"As you can imagine it was quite a distressful situation.

"He was unconscious and the lifeguards and ambulance officers had some severe haemorrhage to deal with."

Mr Roberts said lifeguards performed well in the traumatic situation.

"Certainly it's one of those things that you're trained for but hopefully it never happens as well," he said.

"The lifeguards did an excellent job and worked with the ambulance and the police service, but obviously it is a traumatic experience."

The boy was surfing 50 metres out from shore at the time of the attack, he said.

Reports that a second man was attacked but survived have not been confirmed.

Mr Roberts said the beach was normally patrolled, but crews had not started patrolling for the day.

The manager at the nearby Ballina Beach Resort, Sharon, said this morning's attack came a fortnight after a sighting of a group of bull sharks in Ballina.

"About two weeks ago there was an article in the local newspaper that said five bull sharks were seen in the river," she said

"I've been here for 23 years and in the last few years there's been quite a few sightings."

She said this was the first shark death in Ballina that she had ever heard of in her quarter of a century in the town.

Surfers' websites say Lighthouse Beach, just north of the Richmond River estuary, is popular, but they warn of the danger from sharks.

Today's attack comes a little over a year after 26-year-old boogie boarder Matthew McIntosh was attacked and bitten on the leg by a shark at nearby Shelly Beach.

"The boogie boarder didn't even see the shark," Charlie Wood told the Sun-Herald directly after last year's attack.

"He felt this massive jolt on his leg and looked down to see blood everywhere.

"He yelled out and everyone got out of the water as they dragged him onto the rocks."

Mr McIntosh underwent microsurgery on his leg and foot but made a full recovery.

- with AAP

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Well, I guess a big lesson may have been learned here for all surfers - it is not wise to surf/swim near headlands with rivers & creeks entering the water after heavy rain. The prawns & bait fish are flushed out in the muddy water & jewies are not the only predators sitting out there waiting for them! Combine that with low light situations ( dawn, dusk & heavy cloud or other low light situations ..... as with the current weather we are having up here on the mid - far north coast) and it could be a recipe for disaster, as happened yesterday.


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