The man is being flown to Royal Perth Hospital with serious injuries. (ABC News: Anthony Pancia)
A man in his 30s has been bitten by a shark near Gracetown in Western Australia’s South West, putting on hold the nearby Margaret River Pro international surfing competition.
The attack at Cobblestones beach was reported shortly before 8:00am, with an ambulance crew from Margaret River and the rescue helicopter sent to the scene.
A Saint John Ambulance spokesman said the man was conscious and breathing, and was now being flown to hospital.
He said paramedics on the ground reported that first aid from the man’s friends was crucial in the moments after the attack, as they used a leg rope to stem blood flow.
Surf photographer Peter Jovic witnessed the attack from the beach.
“A shark popped up and pretty much ended up knocking a surfer from his board,” he said.
“There was a lot more thrashing around. After that it was hard to see what was going on.
“[I] saw the guy who had been attacked get separated from the [surf] board and then start to paddle for an inside wave, which he managed to body surf all the way in,” he said.
“They got him to shore and started working on him to stem the bleeding.”
The man is expected to be taken to Royal Perth Hospital.
Surf Life Saving WA said a shark was spotted at Cobblestones surfing spot.
The Margaret River Pro international surfing competition is being held nearby and had been taking place in Gracetown over the weekend.
Heats had today returned to Main Break in Prevelly but the competition has been suspended.
“The World Surf League (WSL) has been alerted to a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown,” a WSL spokesman said.
“We are placing the Margaret River Pro on hold while we work with local authorities on next steps.
The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority for the WSL. We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes.”
Organisers said an update would be provided at 10:00am.