Surfer dies after shark attack near Coffs Harbour
A surfer aged in his 20s has died after being bitten by a shark on the New South Wales North Coast this morning, lifeguards and paramedics say.
Paramedics, including critical care specialists aboard the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, raced to Shelley Beach, at Emerald Beach north of Coffs Harbour, shortly before 11:00am.
Despite their best efforts the man died at the scene.
"It was a devastating for everybody on the beach this morning," Chris Wilson from NSW Ambulance said.
"A number of local surfers and bystanders came to the aid of this man.
"They were incredibly brave in a very challenging situation.
"The Westpac Rescue Helicopter winched in a critical care medical team onto the beach to continue treatment.
"The patient suffered a critical injury to his arm, but despite the best efforts of bystanders, paramedics and other emergency services, the patient couldn't be revived."
Aaron Armstrong was surfing at Shelly Beach at the time of the attack and saw the man being brought out of the water.
"It's quite scary, you feel for the dude's family," he said.
Mr Armstrong, who has lived at Emerald Beach for more than 20 years, said it was the first attack he's aware of at the "very popular" Shelly Beach.
Resident Glenn Coleman heard the sirens coming down his street.
"We pricked our ears up straight away and we knew something had happened," he said.
He said many locals were out surfing for Father's Day.
"It's a heavy feeling," Mr Coleman said. "It's put a heavy atmosphere over the village."
The council has closed Shelly Beach, Emerald Beach and Serenity Beach for the next 48 hours.
Police Inspector Ben Atkinson said incidents like these were difficult for all involved, including emergency services and locals.
"This has a particular impact on the surf community," he said.
© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.