A 65-year-old man has become the latest victim of a shark attack on the NSW north coast after being bitten “to the bone” by a great white.
David Quinlivan was on his surf ski on Friday morning at Black Head Beach, north of Forster, when he was attacked, bitten on the leg and dragged off his board.
He managed to paddle to shore and was undergoing surgery at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle on Friday night.
A Westpac helicopter spokesman said Mr Quinlivan believed the shark was a great white.
Mr Quinlivan is the 13th person to be attacked by a shark in NSW this year after only four attacks in the state in 2014.
The NSW north coast has become particularly notorious in recent times.
There have been 12 attacks in 13 months between Port Macquarie and Byron Bay with Friday’s incident occurring about 100 kilometres south of Port Macquarie.
“There were a couple of us on the beach and we all just sprinted to the water to see what we could do to help,” said Warren Thompson, one of the onlookers who helped Mr Quinlivan out of the surf.
“He had lost his paddle but was able to climb back onto the ski and caught a wave to the shore.
“It looked to us like he was having a heart attack. When we reached him he told us to stay out of the water.”
Black Head Beach will be closed for 24 hours.
“These attacks are unprecedented, they’re extraordinary, and they are going to require action, so we’ve outlined a framework on how to do that,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said.
He reiterated his personal dislike of nets because of the effect they have on marine life.
But he added: “I have to be open to nets. Notwithstanding how difficult I find them personally, it’s something that we have to be open to because we have to keep this community safe.”