Shark attack at Nambucca Heads leaves man in serious condition with leg injury

Bellinda Kontominas
Swellnet Dispatch

A surfer is in a serious condition after suffering deep lacerations to his leg in a shark attack at Nambucca Heads on the New South Wales mid north coast.

The 36-year-old was surfing near a breakwall at the river mouth when the attack happened about 7:00am.

A spokesperson for Surf Life Saving NSW, Donna Wishart, said three or four surfers were in the water at the time of the attack.

"One of them has seen him disappear under the water, with a flume of water spraying up and then the victim has lifted his arm up to indicate he was having a problem," she said.

The surfers dragged the man up onto the rocks of the breakwall where a long-standing member of the Nambucca Heads Surf Lifesaving Club applied a tourniquet.

Ms Wishart said a pod of dolphins had been seen in the area before the attack.

Nabucca Rivermouth. Photo Flikr/Ken Hodge

NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Brian Parsell said the man suffered five deep lacerations to his lower leg.

Chief Inspector Parsell said the man lost "a fair amount of blood" in the attack and received a blood transfusion at the scene before being airlifted to hospital.

The helicopter crew were going to stop en route at Port Macquarie to pick up more blood products, he said.

"The most important priority for this gentleman is to stabilise the bleeding, get that under control as best we can, but what we do know is he needs to be rushed to theatres on arrival at John Hunter Hospital.

A spokeswoman from the NSW Department of Primary Industries said authorities were not sure what type of shark was responsible for the attack.

She said the man's injuries would be inspected to help determine the species.

Beaches in the area have been closed and extra aerial and jet ski patrols are being conducted.

© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 10:25am

Always felt a little sharky in that neck of the woods. Hope the bloke's OK.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 11:59am

Water was green and spooky as where i was this morning ,hope the guy is o.k.


nextswell's picture
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nextswell commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 1:41pm

A clean morning of waves after a few days of early onshores. Surfed a quiet break nth of Coffs, water not that clear despite days of fine weather. Felt a little sharky. Best wishes to the fella on a quick recovery.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 7:45pm

Ambos praised the patient Joel "Shark Bait".
They also praised the Lifeguard and the first response tourniquet that saved his life.
Even still he lost a lot of blood they say..

A bit sharky is right! Locals interviewed agree!

Another Shark attack site fed by another golf course.
Stuart's Island Golf Course sits in the throat of Nambucca River.
Blood'n'Bone/Fish'n'Foul 'Burley' Island runoff would stir up a shark frenzy.

Oceanside Golf Courses need 100% runoff traps filtering zero Shark Burley Mix.
The Lakes also feed phosphorous into the river harbouring ocean mouth sharks.

No longer coincidence! 4 corners will tide fishy scent back to the greenkeepers.
Oz Golf should be binning their Burley Brew before another attack! Please!

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Sunday, 9 Dec 2018 at 9:45pm

Wave of the Day has commercial beach haulers lurking. It's a bit late in the year in for mullet , and those big blue ice bins the boys cart around this time of year are reserved for baitfish catches.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 2:39am

3rd attack at this spot ?

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 3:02am

2nd, I think.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 3:11am

tubeshooter is right Mullet season has set dates April 1- Aug 31
Fair to say it also has set Fishermen.
Friendly locals one & all.
Say Hi to Ben' Marwell's family been at it since the 1930's S' Straddie to Border
Say Hi to Ol' mate Dave runs from Border to Evans Head since early 1980's
North Straddie run by the Perry Family since when.

Free fishing tip from Ben: When the Eagles perch on Kirra Lamp-posts your on.
Free surfing tip from Ben: When the Mullet are on so to are the Sharks..He warns ya!
Legends the lot!

groovie's picture
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groovie commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 11:23am

Dolphins sighted in a pod= sharks trailing them if they are feeding. Data evidence shows this relationship. Also surfed a creek mouth last week & hastily exited as huge mullet run appeared just 300m down the beach from the peak! Hope the victim @ Nambucca has a complete recovery!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 2:04pm

Not all attacks are in files...files list two attacks in area (Offshore/1961 +Mouth/2001)
Several attacks at a 'Shelly beach'. Six/seven NSW beach towns share that name.
I couldn't trace one to here. re: Shelly Beach-(Ballina/Crescent Head/Gosford)
My research shows there's always more attacks than 1/2/3 files combined

Note I exhausted several files for our swellnet GC file & still has several more entries.
On that point I uncovered another recent incidental GC shark death that all missed.
I read that Clubbie was likely knocked off board by Shark in 2013 lake drowning.
Since then we know it's a trait for local Bull Sharks to have a go the paddle craft.
Witness say victim came back up & went straight back down.

Talk of shark was played down by Lifesavers for obvious reasons.
One being they never wanted to lose training venue another being liability.
First they deny chest pains until Shark was mentioned then quickly utter chest pains.
I'll post link as this is not considered a Shark incident nor attack,others beg to differ.

joesydney's picture
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joesydney commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 7:04pm

I have trouble making much sense of Trueblues postings however I did a quick bit of research and the Coroners report does not mention a shark..

Whatever the cause of the cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), the presence of the fibrosis puts the heart at risk of developing an arrhythmia (abnormal beating), which can be fatal of itself or can cause unconsciousness, which can be fatal if the person is in a dangerous environment such as in water where they can drown. In my opinion, the direct cause of his death was drowning, likely secondary to arrhythmia of his enlarged heart causing him to become unconscious in the water.

"I find that Jerry Arthur Dennis died at Lake Wonderland Canal at about 4.25 pm on Thursday 1 August 2013 when he was taking part in a training session with Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club. I find that he became unconscious and fell into the water and drowned. The cause of death was drowning due to or as a consequence of cardiomegaly. The other significant condition found at autopsy was asthma with recent respiratory tract infection. "

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 7:26pm

I know Benny and Dave well,. Beach haulers are on alert up and down the seaboard. However I,m "guessing" that the likely culprit could be a bronzie. The area is known for them in bait season.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 10 Dec 2018 at 11:48pm

Courier Mail reported: There was talk of a possible shark attack.
I downgraded that to incidental & said it was not considered an attack despite news.

The rest involving training was & still is common talk within GCCC/SLSC circles.
In fact they were told by GCCC officer that Tallebudgera Ck was a less sharky option.

So a number of reasons I sought assistance for clarity.

I thank joesydney for getting to the heart of the matter
My apology to the Dennis Family & Northcliffe Surf Club.

Further News Reports...
*The Mother was given conflicting info from the outset by the same Coroners
*About Genetic Heart condition?
*Coroners report was to be delayed to finish in 6 months from 1/Aug/2013 >(Feb/14)
*Coroners report was delayed another year longer to 11/Feb 2015...
*Mother expressed she couldn't cancel son's contracts without a death certificate

This was a mystery to the coroners as soon as you start reading it!
I'm no expert on heart or heart attacks nor if faced with a shark it could bring one on?
But if the mother wasn't convinced with genetic heart condition within family?

I merely followed a line of inquiry born from the media of the day as again here.

I was easily led by assumption of Shark involvement as it was warranted.
Mermaid Waters has had 3 attacks + Nearby lakes 2 attacks + Nearby River 5 attacks
Paddle/oar craft have featured in these attacks by way of sharks attacking craft.
Again I sincerely apologize if I led any astray on such a serious matter. {R.I.P} Jerry.

As for my posts...
Doctors advise me to quit posting so I guess they'd advise against any reading one.
Bugger them I say as I'm losing options of communication.
I prefer craft/writing/drawing all now impossibly painful & way too exhausting.
I've never owned a mobile phone as I'm unable to jiggle & twiddle the darn thing.
Rest assured we incurable disabled outpatients would be glad to tick any box.

Still not too buggered to wish 'Shark Bait' a speedy recovery.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018 at 12:09pm

& thank you for your posts TBB, they show a deep level of research. If the Docs say stop, is there a way you can limit or slow the posting? Or keep it within the thresholds of pain? I've enjoyed the information you bring, and tbh am scratching my head over how you find it! This from someone who would go through parliamentary papers from the 1840's researching his degree...

In terms of heart attacks, they can be confused with anxiety attacks. They can be brought on by strenuous activity, or by stress. Increased risk during solar storms. Increased risk by flying a lot. Increased risk by diet or sometimes blood/heart disorders, like the young fellow apparently had.

Do you still get to bodysurf a bit?

On topic, mum, a QLD farm girl, said "Never surf at the rivermouth or dawn, or dusk." So naturally I am out on the rivermouth, at dusk, when the tiger shark surfaces and glides by. Mum is always right! & I hope the fellow in this attack is ok and recovers, and has someone watching over him.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018 at 4:34pm

Listen to mum VJ.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018 at 8:09pm

Thanks VelocityJohnno I also enjoy reading yours and many swellnet comments.
Free search Tip. Old guard are gone. Chix have no ego so are free to rewrite history.
I often stumble upon reports by Chix refreshing inclusive honest take on history!

Open Reply! (re:VJ)(Fellow swellnetonians look away now) Repairs Workshop...
*Myositis is swollen muscles that comatose body into Lethargy. Raise a hand,not me!
*Bipolar as you can read runs everyone into the ground no less me.
*Central Serous Retinopathy wobbles these words & the lines in my room.(Tiring)
*Labyrinthitis has me spinning every which way.(Think mobile Vertigo!)...also tiring
*Sleep Apnea is very tiring it requires me donning Mask + sleep cube
*Bent Septum blocks air,again tiring enough to await a Rhinoplasty do over.
*I beat Asthma!(No puffer) + Other stuff is even more boring but manageable.
Easy to read that I wish to sleep forever & never have to wake..(That's my Heaven)

I can't walk in or out of the surf that good at all & it's noticeably getting pathetic.
I mostly Swim a sideways surface stroke with squirm no overarm or kicking
Good example being today as I circled the same massive rip 5 times without issue.

Mostly I cradle the take off with little to no effort.
For must have waves I chalm burleybodybashinbunyip (Translate: the beast within)
Lifeguards/Boardriders:'best I've ever seen' + 'I've never seen anyone do that before!'
Bodybash'n #1 rule is no claim! Shh! finger hypnotizes ('Sorry! Didn't see ya mate!')
I can promise to detox every inch of a wave from Chandelier to Trap door.

Fellow basherz have no complaints as we all share our bounty & burdens!
True friend velocityjohnno if Life's good for you then it just got better for me!
Crikey! That sounds like a Hallmark card...I'm a lot sicker than I thought!
Anyhow! All our mortal woes combined are insignificant...Merry Xmas Bite Club!

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018 at 9:55pm

re: Above post 10/Dec/2018 @ 2:04pm

2001 Same locale & similar attack on Surf Shop Owner Mr Richard Ellis @ The Bar
*Pod of dolphins then bitten on leg/Calf then applied Leggie Tourniquet.(Say What!)

In the wash up from recent attack Mr Ellis relives that haunting feeling with ABC.
We thank Mr Ellis for sharing ...(Telling interview makes for eerie reading!)