Professional surfer Brett Connellan mauled by shark at Australian beach
Published 31/03/2016 | 06:46
A professional surfer suffered serious injuries when he was mauled by a shark off the Australian east coast.
Brett Connellan, 22, was flown by helicopter to Sydney's St George Hospital in a serious condition after he was attacked 75 miles to the south at a beach near Kiama, police said.
He suffered injuries to a thigh and a hand in the attack off Bombo Beach at 7pm local time on Wednesday, and was helped 100 yards to shore by a fellow surfer, Joel Trist.
Mr Trist told reporters he paddled as fast as he could towards his friend when he heard him scream. The shark had vanished before he covered the 50 yards.
"I said to him 'what's it like?' and he said: 'It's not good.' And at that point I knew something was horribly wrong," Mr Trist said.
Mr Trist said he dragged his friend on to his board and the pair caught a wave to shore.
Ambulance Service spokesman Terry Morrow said two beachgoers who were off-duty nurses saved Mr Connellan's life by applying a tourniquet made from a surfboard leg rope to his upper thigh before paramedics reached the scene.
"He had lost a large proportion of his left thigh, and the quad muscle was torn away right down to the bone," Mr Morrow told the Illawarra Mercury newspaper.
"He could've bled to death before we arrived on scene. He was very lucky the members of the public were there and acted as they did."
Mr Connellan did not see the shark. Experts are examining his wounds to determine its size and species.