Second shark attack in one day in WA's southwest
There are reports of a second shark attack just kilometres away from where a surfer was bitten on the leg in Gracetown this morning.
A second surfer was reportedly attacked at Lefthanders, near Cobblestone Beach, where the first surfer was bitten on the leg about 8.20am.
Bite mark in the surfboard belonging to the second victim
The first victim - a 37-year-old working as part of the event team at the Magaret River Pro - was flown to Perth via RAC Rescue helicopter. Royal Perth Hospital recently said: "The patient is out of theatre and is still in a stable condition. He will be moved to the ward (State Trauma Unit) some stage this afternoon."
More to come...
From earlier in the day:
A man is in a stable condition in hospital after he was bitten by a shark near Gracetown in Western Australia's South West, with the attack forcing the temporary suspension of the Margaret River Pro international surfing competition.
The man was attacked at Cobblestones surfing spot shortly before 8:00am, with an ambulance crew from Margaret River and a rescue helicopter sent to the scene, about 270 kilometres south of Perth.
The surfer suffered leg injuries and was flown to Royal Perth Hospital [RPH], where he is recovering from surgery and is expected to be transferred to the trauma unit.
A St John Ambulance spokesman 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.
Photographer Peter Jovic witnessed the attack from the beach and said it reminded him of Mick Fanning's encounter with a shark at Jeffreys Bay.
"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.
"They got him to shore and started working on him to stem the bleeding."
A 4-metre white shark was later spotted by the crew of Surf Live Saving WA's helicopter.
Shark launched out of the water: witness
Another witness, Brett Newland, said there were about five surfers in the area when "a big shark popped up in the water amongst them".
"It swam under a couple of guys and came around and bit a third person," he said.
"We could see its fin, and then when it attacked the man we could see its tail splashing and saw it launch up out of the water at him.
"It was a large shark and from the way it was behaving, it would have been a white pointer.
"All the other surfers swam to him, helped him get away from his board and leg rope and helped him get on a wave, and luckily [he] caught a wave onto the reef."
Mr Newland said the man was conscious the whole time.
"The surfers that helped him in got tourniquets on his legs as soon as they got on the shallow reef, and then other people came down from the carpark and put him onto a surfboard and carried him up to the carpark," he said.
"He had cuts to both legs."
Cobblestones surfing spot and beaches around Gracetown have been closed. (ABC News: Gian de Poloni)
Whale carcass found nearby
Beaches in the Gracetown area have been closed following the attack, including North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders, and a shark warning has been issued for waters between Kilcarnup and North Point.
The Department of Fisheries also said a whale carcass was found a short distance away at Lefthanders shortly after the attack.
A whale carcass washed up on the beach near the site of the shark incident. (ABC News: Gian De Poloni)
An alert has been issued warning beach users the decomposing carcass could draw sharks close to shore along the coastline.
A department spokesman said it had two vessels on the water in the area to advise people of the attack and the whale carcass, and to monitor the situation.
Safety of surfers 'top priority': World Surf League
The Margaret River Pro began last Friday and had been taking place in Gracetown over the weekend.
John John Florence winning last year's Margaret River Pro. (Source: WSL/Cestari)
Heats had today returned to Main Break in Prevelly, about 15 kilometres away, but the competition was put on hold after the attack.
Organisers decided to resume the competition about an hour later with "enhanced safety measures" after discussions with local authorities and surfers.
"We are confident, we wouldn't have resumed if we didn't feel that way," WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow said.
"We've stepped up the presence of our jet-ski team, [our] water safety team.
"Typically we have three or four in the water dedicated to surfer safety and also to our shark safety protocol and we've stepped that up now, we've actually got seven in the line-up and we've increased our drone presence to two.
"Surfer safety is the foremost of our minds."
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