A male surfer acted quickly and punched a shark in the head as it attacked him at Evans Head on the New South Wales north coast on Friday.
Craig Ison, 52, was bitten at Main Beach while surfing just before 6am, and is undergoing surgery after suffering a number of puncture wounds to his thigh and hands.
Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay told reporters in Ballina the quick thinking of another surfer and beach walkers who stemmed the flow of blood may have saved Mr Ison’s life.
Det Insp Lindsay said Mr Ison spotted the shark in the water and warned the other surfers.
“ As the group tried to paddle away from the animal it then attacked Mr Ison,” he said.
“He actually fought off the shark, we’re told, and has made it to shore and with the help of that other surfer.”
Two surfers and passersby initially helped Mr Ison using towels as tourniquets until emergency services arrived at the beach.
A police officer then drove the ambulance to the hospital so paramedics could work on him as they approached Lismore Base Hospital.
The beach is now closed.
There have been two other attacks in the NSW north coast area this month.
Further north in the Ballina Shire there has been one fatal shark attack this year, and beaches were closed again this week after more large sharks were spotted in the area.
One surfer was knocked off his board at Lennox Head just weeks ago, and a body boarder was mauled at Ballina by what was believed to be a Great White shark two days earlier.
Meanwhile, three-time world champion Mick Fanning was contesting the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa last weekend when the shark turned up.
He fought it off and survived to tell the tale.
But reports on Friday revealed Fanning encountered a second shark on home soil when he was again chased from the water at Hastings Point on the Tweed Coast on Saturday.
Recent shark attacks in Australia
JULY 31, 2015
– Man is mauled by a shark at Evans Head, south of Ballina, suffering a wound to his leg.
JULY 25, 2015
– Man is killed while reportedly diving for scallops off Tasmania’s east coast. It is believed the man was diving with his daughter, who saw the attack and surfaced to fire a distress flare.
JULY 2, 2015
– Matthew Lee, 32, is mauled by a shark, suspected to be a great white shark at Lighthouse Beach, near Ballina, in northern NSW. He suffers critical leg injuries but survives.
JANUARY 16, 2015
– Sam Smith, 17, is bitten on the hand by a 1.5m shark at Mollymook Beach, about three and a half hours south of Sydney.
FEBRUARY 9, 2015
– Japanese national Tadashi Nakahara, 41, is killed at Shelly Beach, near Ballina, in northern NSW.
DECEMBER 29, 2014
– Jay Muscat, 17, is killed by a great white while spearfishing at Cheynes Beach near Albany, WA.
DECEMBER 15, 2014
– Daniel Smith, 18, of Mossman,Qld, is killed while fishing at Rudder Reef, off the coast of Port Douglas.
OCTOBER 2, 2014
– Sean Pollard, 23, loses both hands after a shark attack at Wylie Bay Beach, near Esperance, WA.
– with AAP