Second shark attack in one day in WA's southwest

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

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."

© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Comments

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 5:44pm

Any news on that second attack at Lefties?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 5:50pm

Authorities had closed the beach but he went out anyway. Fortunately the injuries sound minor.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 5:56pm

Fuckn Fool

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 5:57pm
simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:00pm

hope its not a case of here we go again...been quiet of late .....as they seem to go in runs.
Makes you wonder what would have happened if it was a competitor ala mick but actual bite.

simba

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:14pm

Shoot the fucken thing

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:15pm

The second fella looks bloody lucky to not have had more serious injuries. Lots of sightings recently, keep your feet up!

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:18pm

That's a bit harsh Udo.

Billie

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:21pm

Shitload of whale carcasses on the beaches over the past few weeks, no wonder they've come sniffing. Do they only drumline to kill following a fatal...seems like good enough reason to put one out now if it's hanging around?

Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:27pm

Why would you surf lefties after this morning's events at cobbles, when there is a dead whale on the beach, and so many other options a short but safer distance away? Reckless

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:28pm

I get the impression it was just hanging around for some time after the first attack. The chopper that was sweeping the area was blazing it's siren and dropped real low to the water.

Hard to fathom, the conditions were ideal, sunny, offshore and blue.

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:56pm

Did you see the chopper do this?
2nd old mate reckons he didn't know the beach was closed...there definitely was a sign up. If he took the track he might not have seen it because it was down on the path to the beach. Beggars the question if there wasn't another sign why was the only sign located where it was and not up on the edge of the carpark or in the carpark so you couldn't miss it. He may have been stoned...

Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:03pm

Even if he took the top track, surely someone else in the water mentioned the morning's events?

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:05pm

Yep you would think

Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:20pm

If he's being legit then there are some duty of care issues there that need to be tidied up to avoid a repeat. As you know, there's more than one way in to lefties and cobbles (and most places) and the relevant authorities need to be made aware of where to put warning signs in future

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 9:22pm

Yep that’s what I was getting at. Big effort to walk to Lefties from Ellensbrook but there surely would have been signs that end to stop people surfing there and The Womb. Most people don’t walk further than Umbies from the Lefties car park.
Re the 2nd attack It seems it was more a case of ignoring the warnings that were both clearly signposted and more disturbingly given in person.

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:43pm

Yes, I did. Chopper was clear as day. Siren sounding. Staying in one spot and lowering to water. Just south of lefties carpark, kind of in no mans land. That was around 9.30am(ish????).

Surely there would have been a sign at the Ellensbrook end.

You know I saw the ranger putting up the sign and while he was doing I'm sure I saw crew getting ready and heading up the beach to surf.

Could have been stoned, he was from Denmark after all.

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 9:18pm

Apparently fisheries officers told him along with other blokes to get out, the rest did he stated in telling them “she’ll be right” then soon after bang. If this is true then he is a dickhead.

Don’t spose you went out after seeing the chopper do that.

Will be interesting to see how many crew are surfing tomorrow. Not many I reckon.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 6:29pm

Looks like from the bite that old mate had a white latch onto him and was fcuking lucky to get his legs out of the way.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:21pm

FR as you are the fisherman, does the bite location mimic a hit on the gills area of a fish? Do other predatory fish try to hit their prey in this location? I've seen more than one board with this area bitten.

Also, what odds of same animal attacking on both occasions, given they are so close? Rogue shark theory anyone?

Lastly, note colour of 2nd board. Would the eyesight of GWS perceive the colour reflecting on the surface of the water and interpret it as blood?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:23pm

I'm not sure whether a white would attack that area , it seems their modus operandi is ambush attack, hitting from below or behind.

But yes, some predatory fish aim for head/gills region. Which is why the red headed lure is so popular.

Not sure on the the colour thing. Vic Pedemoors, chief shark scientist for the DPI told me white sharks have terrible colour vision...I'd think anything on the surface that silhouette would be far more important than colour, but that is just my opinion.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:45pm

Cheers, thanks FR

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 7:12pm

It's probably theoretical but my understanding is sharks will hit those areas to disable the flippers from seals , turtles etc.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:10pm

Fr76 are there still regular sightings in your neck of the woods?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:20pm

Few bull sharks near the rivermouth, no whites.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:16pm

No doubt it will add to the drama of WCT event,, glad I'm not Strider this week.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:17pm

Ha ha...yeah, short straw for the water reporter.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:30pm

It's his birthday, too.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:30pm

“I’ve gotta get in the water, are you kiddddding me?!?!?”
No strider, not kidding

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:23pm

I think they will have trouble calling it on now. That 2nd attack removes that confidence they said they had

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:32pm

I think they will run it,drones up and waters pretty clear,7 jetskis with shark shield, Rosie and Turpel keep anything away.

simba

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:53pm

They should amplify Turpel's nasally twang into the water...even a GW couldn't help but be repelled.

ra28's picture
ra28's picture
ra28 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:05pm

Anybody watched the WSL replay of round one heat 4, 8:50 mark, have a geez at what swims through John johns wave, don’t look like a dolphin to me???????

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:15pm

funny, I thought it looked suss at the time.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:44pm

7:43 to 7:39 (until end of heat) - you see the dolphins exit stage right, upper screen. Probably them. One of them got a sick view of JJF setting up the tube.

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:51pm

You know it's been an lively time in the ocean recently.

The whale stranding, so many fish around and now the shark thing happening again.

Two weekends ago I was looking at mainbreak and box, both had plenty of crew out. The bay in between was alive with salmon and birds hitting the water. Guys catching salmon off the rocks, just looked threateningly alive.

I did a ski run from Gracetown to Prevelly and back the next day and the schools of salmon were huge. Did the same dawn run today. With the whipping offshore and the steel colours of dawn it just didn't look inviting.

I wonder if they will call the contest off?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 9:01pm

doubt it.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:56pm

Lucky it's onshore the next two days.

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 9:10pm

all of the remaining days look ordinary to woeful.

Legrope's picture
Legrope's picture
Legrope commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 12:13am

Hey Stu, didn't you guys do an article about whales and shark attacks? If I remember, the article said there was no proven evidence to say that whales attract sharks. Almost every attack in WA has had some whale activity or carcass nearby. Almost always related. I reckon a decent cray boat could tow that out to sea and put it on a temporary mooring a couple of k's out to sea while it is still whole. Let the sharks have what they are looking for and they should then hopefully move on. How's the second guy ignoring the sign and chopper to go out anyway with a whale carcass on the very beach he was surfing? She'll be right mate? I like his optimism but really mate come on. You got very lucky. First bloke not so. Heal up well fella.

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 4:37am

From Italo:
Two shark attacks in 24hrs here in Australia. Detail, just a few km from where the contest is being held. Very dangerous don’t you think? Even so, they insist on taking steps where the risk of this type of accident is 90% there. I ask is the safety of the athletes not priority? We’ve had multiple alerts. Life goes more than that. I hope it doesn’t happen to any of us. I don’t feel comfortable training and competing in places like this.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:32am

And the reason why the Government is to blame for a big drop in tourism numbers, because they are just sitting on their hands and crossing everything there is not another attack, but there always is!!

cswells's picture
cswells's picture
cswells commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:25am

I'm not entirely clued up on how WA's been handling their shark situation of late, but was there any progress on the proposal to put forward shark nets like the GC's? Or is it too much of a threat to other marine life? I don't know the full ecological impact of the GC's nets...

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 10:00am

They have been proposed in the past CS but the govt doesn't like them for the by-catch reason. In their defence our coast doesn't really lend to netting too well, not enough bays. But this should not be a reason for them to sit on their hands, the Libs at least had a crack with the drumlines, even if the approach was completely misguided, i.e. not done at the correct time of the year.
The only current mitigation strategy in place is a subsidy for Sharkshields...but not the surfers model only the diving model!!!! Who are the victims of 99% of the attacks...SURFERS.
The current WA Govt have recently come out and said smart drumlines are not effective...WTF? They have deployed a network of sonar buoys but then don't follow it up with a concerted tagging program...again WTF.
I am continually blown away by how people in positions of power side with minority groups, how about they start listening to the majority and implement an effective mitigation strategy and forget about putting fish above human life.

AndoMc's picture
AndoMc's picture
AndoMc commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 6:44pm

It's a Labor government, they're useless..At least NSW put in smart drumlines on NC.

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 6:49pm

Yep and definitely seems to have some sort of an effect...no?

AndoMc's picture
AndoMc's picture
AndoMc commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 7:01pm

Seems like it so far..Mind you I'd be happy if they culled at least 10%.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:26am

WSL statement from their page.

"The WSL continues to assess the current situation at the men's and women's Margaret River Pro where there have been two confirmed shark incidents near Gracetown in the last 24 hours. We have actioned our well established safety protocols and are gathering all the latest information to determine next steps. We will continue to liaise with all involved, most importantly the surfers, their safety remains paramount.

Today's competition (Tuesday in Western Australia) has already been called off and all surfers have been advised not to surf in the area. We are constantly evaluating the situation, and will update as soon as possible."

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:27am

Surf looks horrible on the cam too.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:35am

Well it’s safe to say that the WA tourism cash splash via the WSL to increase surfer numbers in the state has backfired spectacularly.

Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum's picture
Clivus Multrum commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 10:28am

Finally some good news !

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:49am

PR disaster.

Lot of shiny bums in tourism agencies having kittens right about now.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 9:14am

Back to wine and cheese segments on postcards and getaway.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 10:43am

Roger Cook (acting WA Fisheries Minister) just quoted it would cost $10,000 a day to operate 6 smart drumlines.........where do I sign the contract!!
Yearly, that's $3.65 mil to bait some hooks, run a 12ft dingy and a sea worthy 8m tub

Acon's picture
Acon's picture
Acon commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 7:23pm

Oh, you bring the boat, ill bring the bait.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 7:21pm

Spot on . 6 drumlines , in pretty much near shore waters. $10,000 a day??? I suppose you have to factor in some tech head to monitor the signals but yeah, seems a bit over the top.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 7:22pm

Thats Bullshite

Acon's picture
Acon's picture
Acon commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 8:07pm

Na its totally $10000 a day, lets tender it and split the 3 mil profit down the middle. Thanks Roger!

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Thursday, 19 Apr 2018 at 12:12am

Roger Cook now there's a flog if I've ever seen one. How do we protect 12,000 km's of coastline he asks...we don't Roger, we protect the areas that are populated, heavily visited and problematic, you tool. You should have been shot into the sheets mate.
Don't hold out much hope getting any action from the muppet he's standing in for either. Dave Kelly is an ex Union man who has a bachelor of arts, so would have to know fuck all about Fisheries, he lives in Bayswater for fucks sake. I'd be surprised if he's been to the beach at all recently!
Unbelievable how politicians inherit positions with no prior knowledge of the focus of the portfolio. They simply need to give the job to someone so he'll do, how are we supposed to get an educated, well informed answer out of someone like that? Yes I know they are only puppets and their advisors do all the grunt work but the advisors are all consultants now, not public servants who have built knowledge in the area, so it's the dollar talking again.
I will be very surprised if we see any action at all from this govt.

Quint's picture
Quint's picture
Quint commented Thursday, 19 Apr 2018 at 6:13am

Just blame the Humans for it as usual. Problem solved.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 19 Apr 2018 at 6:51am

Perth now has some footage of the second attack

BaSz's picture
BaSz's picture
BaSz commented Thursday, 19 Apr 2018 at 1:16pm

He was very lucky to get away by the looks of the footage!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 19 Apr 2018 at 1:56pm

Vid by Tudo Pelo surf on Utube shows the bite mark on board around 50 secs
and use Mute !

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