Tourism operator mauled by shark in Australia

Man bitten by shark in Coral Bay

By Aja Styles, WA today,
19. January 2012

A 26-year-old man has been bitten by a three-metre tiger shark in Western Australia’s north-west.

Sergeant Graham Clifford said the man had been snorkelling at The Lagoon, north of Coral Bay, about 2pm when he was bitten to the right forearm.

He said the man suffered tendon damage but his injury was not considered life-threatening.

The man was a tour operator, according to police.

Sunny Rayudu, who works in Coral Bay, told PerthNow that the man was giving a snorkelling tour to a group of couples at the time of the attack.

“We haven’t had an attack here in 10 or 15 years and it just happened out of the blue. Everyone is very shocked,” he said. “He is a good guy, and he’s very experienced.”

Royal Flying Doctor Service spokeswoman Joanne Hill said a crew was flying from Port Hedland to Coral Bay to pick up the man.

“A RFDS doctor is yet to assess the patient but he is believed to have a bite mark to his arm,” she said.

“The injury is not life threatening and he is believed to be in a stable condition.”

The man is likely to be flown to Perth for further treatment.

Yvonne Kowald, who had been up to Coral Bay to visit her grandchildren for the Christmas holidays, said she saw a three-metre tiger shark at Mauds Landing at the heart of Coral Bay on January 2.

“It was really big and you know how Mauds Landing goes out really shallow, only about five feet, and the drops into a really deep trough and he was right in there,” she said.

“He trawled up and down a couple of times before he went back out.”

She said they had been beach fishing for about half an hour when they spotted the shark come in.

“Some of the guys threw out the bigger fish and he came up and looked at it but then kept going,” she said.

“You could see the shape and size of him it was that close. Just amazing.”

Tiger sharks are listed among the most aggressive sharks towards humans and have been responsible for fatalities in Australia before.

An Exmouth diving tour operator, who did not wish to be named, said he was concerned about the reporting of shark attacks having a detrimental impact on local operators since tourism was already struggling.

Another operator said he highly doubted it would be a tiger shark claiming it was more likely to be a reef shark since there were thousands in the area.

Meanwhile surf lifesavers have spotted a three-metre shark about 200 metres off Scarborough Beach.

The lifesaver’s helicopter has reported that the shark was tracking in northerly direction.

Beachgoers have been warned about the sighting.

Related videos: 1. Tiger shark mauls snorkel instructor in Australia, 2. Shark attack survivor’s emotional meeting.




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