Man's surfboard takes brunt of encounter as he escapes with deep puncture wounds
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 October, 2016 - A shark attack has been reported early today as a 36-year-old man was attacked between Suffolk Park and Broken Head in northern New South Wales.
James Fitzpatrick survived the encounter with his surfboard sustaining most of the damage.
Fitzpatrick hobbled away from the encounter with three puncture wounds to his thigh. He was taken to a nearby Byron Bay Hospital by a friend.
“I just want to enjoy being alive today,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “I’m all good mate.”
According to reports the shark swam under Mr Fitzpatrick while he was waiting out the back for a wave, but then turned around and chomped down on him.
An unidentified witness who was surfing nearby told news media that the encounter was quite dramatic, but that the attack didn’t last long. Following the encounter she said it took about 30 minutes to get the victim to safety.
“There was a lot of blood ... it was pretty freaky,” she said. “It (happened) pretty fast.”
The type of shark responsible for the attack is unkown at this time.
The encounter stirs the hot-button topic of how best to protect ocean users along the Northern New South Wales Coast. It’s the third attack in a month.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced he would introduce legislation in a bid to have shark nets installed before the summer school holidays. But many are opposed because the nets also kill non-human threatening marine life like dolphins, turtles and whales.
"We understand that marine life is important, but human life is more important," Blair said in the statement.