Thursday, 19 August 2010

Surfer Killed In Shark Attack Off Australia

A surfer has died after being attacked by a shark off the coast of Australia, despite attempts to revive him on the beach.

The 31-year-old man, who has not been named, was surfing on his own near Gracetown, south of Perth. Rob Balder, who lives in the bay, said he saw the man catching good waves and decided to head down and join him.

But when he took another look through his binoculars he caught sight of a surfboard floating in the water with the surfer nowhere to be seen. Mr Balder called the local sea rescue centre and cycled down to check on the surfer, thinking he may have hit a wave hard and snapped his board.

"When I got down my friend Craig was already sitting with the man with a tourniquet around his leg and had pulled him out of the water. We started CPR... we continued until the ambulance crew arrived and then we carried him up the beach to the ambulance, by which time we managed to get a lot of colour back in him.

"We were very hopeful."

Breaking down into tears when asked if it was an unpleasant experience, Mr Balder said: "It's an honour to be able to offer that kind of help to somebody else." Another local surfer Eddie Kilgallon was out with three friends when he saw someone on rocks at the shore.

He thought the person was stuck until two men began waving their arms and shouting "shark, shark". The four surfers planned to catch the next wave into shore but when none came they were forced to paddle the whole way in. They ran down the beach to find Mr Balder, his friend Craig and another man trying to resuscitate the victim.

Mr Kilgallon took over holding the tourniquet as they tried to save the man's life. "There was no real blood, they had already stopped the blood flow but half his leg was sort of hanging and half his calf muscles," Mr Killagon said. "He was out cold and white but after a while the colour went back into his face. We were confident he was coming back."

But the surfer, who was from Busselton, died of his injuries on the way to hospital, Sky News Australia correspondent Adam Harvey said. Mr Balder said he knew of one previous shark attack around the beach but said he had to accept there was a risk if he chose to surf in shark territory.

In July 2004, 29-year-old carpenter Brad Smith was attacked and killed by two sharks in the region.

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