Mates ‘saved my life’ says great white shark victim
A large shark is spotted near South Wall at Ballina.
A 2.7-METRE great white shark is believed to be responsible for mauling a bodyboarder in the fourth serious shark attack in NSW this year.
Beaches were closed after Dale Carr, 38, was attacked at Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie, on Saturday evening and taken to hospital with leg, back and stomach injuries.
He was dragged to shore by his friend with whom he was bodyboarding and other beachgoers.
Mr Carr has thanked those who rescued him.
‘‘I firstly would like to thank those who were on the beach at the time of this incident and were instrumental in retrieving me from the shoreline,’’ he said in a statement.
‘‘I have no doubts their efforts saved my life.’’
A biologist from the Department of Primary Industries inspected the bite pattern and concluded a great white shark, estimated to be about 2.7m, was most likely involved.
Beaches were reopened after extensive air patrols on Monday morning but safety concerns remain, particularly further north in Ballina where there have been a spate of serious attacks.
On July 31, Evans Head man Craig Ison was knocked from his board and mauled by a great white during a morning surf. He is still in Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition.
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A few weeks before, bodyboarder Matthew Lee was attacked by a shark at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, suffering serious injuries to his lower legs. And in February, a large great white shark tore the legs off 41-year-old surfer Tadashi Nakahara in a fatal attack at Shelly Beach.
Some Ballina surfers and fishermen have called for a shark cull but mayor David Wright says he will not support a cull until he looks at the results of tagging large sharks in the area, which is due to start on Wednesday.
‘‘It’s no use culling if you don’t know why they’re there,’’ Cr Wright said.
But he acknowledged how terrifying it had been for surfers and fishermen.
‘‘These sharks are coming in waist-deep water sometimes – it’s a bit scary,’’ Mr Wright said.
‘‘You can virtually see them in the breakers. It’s totally unprecedented.’’
Three great white sharks, including a large animal with a distinctive white-tipped tail, are still hanging around key shark-attack zones on the north coast, the region’s helicopter spotters say.
The great whites were seen as recently as Sunday at Lennox Head, South Wall and Lighthouse Beach in the Ballina Shire, said Georgie Latimer, co-owner of Air T&G Helicopters, which has been engaged to spot sharks.
Cr Wright said nobody had been surfing at Lighthouse Beach since the attack on Mathew Lee on July 2.
The sharks’ return comes as Fairfax Media learned the state’s Primary Industries Department’s tracking program did not have any satellite tracking tags for sharks before the tagging program was announced.
It had to source the tags, of which there were only six in the country, from the CSIRO.
The tagging program, announced this month, is to be funded by a special $250,000 allocation from the NSW government designed to reduce shark attacks.
The program will involve catching great white sharks in the area and installing satellite tags on them and then monitoring their movements.