A 10-YEAR-OLD boy has been airlifted to hospital after being attacked by a two-metre-long shark at a remote swimming area.
The lad screamed for help while snorkelling about 75 metres offshore with his dad in Western Australia, says a tour guide who dragged him “bleeding in to the shallows”.
The boy’s dad had to fend off the bronze whaler with his spear gun to ensure the shark didn’t attack his son again, reported The West Australian.
The beach, about 1,100km north of Perth, remains closed to swimmers because of continued shark activity in the popular location.
It’s the second such attack in several months.
The pair had been snorkelling at Five Fingers Reed, near Coral Bay, when the boy was bitten by the bronze whaler yesterday, leaving him with a 16cm-long laceration.
The attack occurred at a remote swimming spot, only accessible by four-wheel-drive, says WA Today.
Warwick ‘Wokka’ Coles, 48, of Coastal Adventure Tours was at the reef when he heard the dad crying for help.
Mr Coles said: “It wasn’t gushing, but there was enough for it to leave a trail of blood behind as I dragged him into the shallows.”
As he rescued the bleeding victim, the boy’s dad kept guard with his spear gun to stop any further attacks.
While the boy was given initial first aid, and bandages applied to stop the bleeding, an ambulance was called to the shore.
Mr Coles said the dad had been confused about the attack at first – and didn’t realise the seriousness of the situation.
The pair hadn’t actually caught any fish to attract the predator’s attention in the first place.
The man “thought he [the boy] was just pointing out the shark to him, but then he yelled ‘it bit me’. It was a pretty big open wound, open quite wide.
“When this sort of thing happens, even if it doesn’t end up being that serious, you think about what could’ve happened,” Mr Coles added.
He said the boy was level-headed despite losing a lot of blood.
A Royal Flying Doctor plane landed at Coral Bay, and the boy was transported to Perth Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair the 16cm-long wound.
Surf Lifesaving West Australia tweeted today that officials “advise that a beach closure will remain in place today for the Five Finger Reef area, near Coral Bay, following yesterday’s shark bite incident.
“Public report 2.0m unknown sp. [species] shark sighted 12:07hrs 12/06, Coral Bay 500m offshore, On the left side of the boat ramp.”
The Government of Western Australia says that “Fisheries officers and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) officers will continue to patrol the area throughout the day.
“The area closure will remain in place until 5pm this afternoon.”
Beachgoers have been advised to check the SharkSmart website, download the SharkSmart WA app or follow Surf Life Saving WA Twitter.
What is a bronze whaler?
Bronze whalers are not friendly to humans, but they usually don’t harm anyone unless there is a presence of food or prey, says Sharksider.
Like other sharks, they get quite aggressive and agitated in presence of a food source.
The Bronze Whaler Shark feeds mostly on cartilaginous fish, bony small fish and other cephalopods such as squid and octopus.
It is also known to feed on smaller sharks and ray fish quite frequently.
The Bronze Whaler Shark is normally found in temperate areas or latitudes and they prefer to stay in larger groups.
Although it prefers the deeper waters of the Atlantic, especially off the coast of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, they are also found in offshore island coastlines, inlet waterways, and man-made harbours.
It’s the second such attack in the area in a few months.
Jackson Howson, 27, was bitten in the calf by a shark that was attempting to snatch his catch in March.
He cheated death by punching the ferocious predator in the face.
The shark attacked Mr Howson, who struck the beast in desperation and frantically swam the 100m back to his boat where his partner was.
It left Mr Howson with a horrifying 8cm bite wound on his leg from the predator – believed to be either a whaler or bull shark, which is considered by experts to be the most dangerous shark in the world.
Following his lucky escape, he posted pictures of the injury to his leg on social media from hospital, adding that he was in “good spirits”.
In December, a man got the fright of his life when he reportedly spotted a bull shark prowling by his back fence after flash flooding wreaked havoc in Queensland.
It came just days after a massive 16ft great white shark was captured and tagged by marine experts.
The dramatic scenes were filmed just off the coast of Cottesloe Beach in Perth – with swimmers ordered to exit the water immediately.
Last year Australia recorded its highest figures for fatal shark attacks for almost 100 years.
Eight men – aged between 17 and 60 – were killed while in the water off the coast of the country.
Scientists speculated shifting hunting grounds, the weather, staycations and overfishing all may have played a role in the spike.
Just a handful of people are killed by sharks every year, with attacks usually happening in Australia, the United States and South Africa.
The horror attacks appear to be becoming more deadly, with just two deaths from 64 attacks worldwide in 2019.
In November, dad-of-three Charles Cernobori, 59, who was killed by a 12ft shark off Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia.
The grandfather-of-four had been bodyboarding some 30 metres off the iconic tourist beach when he was attacked.
Meanwhile, chilling footage taken in February showed the moment an oblivious surfer stepped on a grey nurse shark after sliding off his board before scrambling out of the water in terror.
The lucky escape was caught on camera by a drone at Bondi Beach in Sydney, with the surfer miraculously avoiding injury.