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Shark attack surfboard

Sam Edwardes of Suffolk Park was bitten on the thigh early Sunday morning. Image: ABC


The Inertia

According to reports, a man was attacked by a shark while surfing near Byron Bay. Officials were called to Belongil Beach at just before 7 a.m. on Sunday, where they found 41-year-old Sam Edwardes on the beach with a large shark bite on his upper leg.

Edwardes, who was surfing with his roommate, Dane Davidson, had just paddled out when the attack occurred. “As soon as my mate got out the back he sat up on his board and instantly a shark smashed from underneath, knocking him clean off his board,” Davidson told ABC. “There was a lot of splashing and smashing and he started screaming.”

The pair then paddled back to shore, unaware of the severity of the situation. “We didn’t realize until we were on the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg so there was a lot of blood,” Davidson explained. “I was freaking. When I heard the screams he was making in the water and then I saw a chunk of his board floating off, that’s when I realized it was pretty bad.”

Davidson, along with bystanders, fashioned a tourniquet using surfboard leashes as they waited for paramedics.  “He was conscious but, his eyes were drifting around a bit, he seemed a bit dizzy,” Davidson said. “He was saying his breathing was laboring… overall I think he was alright, he was just in a bit of shock.”

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When NSW Ambulance paramedics arrived, Edwardes was stabilized and then flown to Gold Coast University Hospital, where he underwent nearly five hours of emergency surgery. Now, he’s in serious but stable condition.

Officials closed Belongil Beach and Main Beach for 24 hours, and a Shark Incident Response Team headed to the scene. As of this reporting, however,  they have to spot any sharks in the area. It’s believed the shark involved in the attack is likely a juvenile great white.

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