A man has escaped serious injury after being attacked by a shark while surfing with a friend on the NSW coast.
The man, named by the Illawarra Mercury as 59-year-old Wil Schroeter, was a regular at the popular surfing spot known as “Sharkies” to the locals.
Illawarra Ambulance Chief Inspector Terry Morrow told the ABC the man was waiting for a wave when he “felt a tug on his left leg”.
“He looked down, saw some blood, got onto his board and made his way to the shoreline,” he said.
“The teeth have gone into the bone joint in the ankle.”
Ambulance paramedics and a rescue helicopter rushed to the scene of the attack at Windang Beach south of Port Kembla about 8am on Friday.
Warning signs at the entrance to the beach reveal it has a sudden drop into deep water, strong currents and a shore dump.
The Mercury reported the man, whose Facebook page showed he was a keen surfer, was first treated by members of the Windang Surf Club, who applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.
One of the surfer’s friends Peter Coombs told the Mercury he heard the victim yelling out close by to where he was also surfing.
“I paddled in and ran up the beach, and met him at the beach,” he said.
“A few guys came along and we put him on his board and lifted him up to here (to the surf club).
“I could see the big bite on his foot.
“We just got our leg ropes off our boards and tried to stop the bleeding as best we could,” Mr Coombs told the newspaper.
“You can see the chunk in his foot – you can tell it’s a shark bite.”
Inspector Morrow said the man has a “significant laceration to the top arch of his left ankle” and was in a stable condition in Wollongong Hospital on Friday afternoon.
“It looks like it must have been a small shark.
“He was cooperative and very thankful for the assistance of his mates, the surf life savers and paramedics.”
“He’ll be fine, his family have now been notified and are making their way to the hospital,”
The Visit NSW website describes Windang as being very popular with families.
Inspector Morrow said such emergency call-outs had the potential to escalate quickly and encouraged all swimmers to take care.
“Paramedics often cannot be sure how extensive the injuries are going to be or how critical the patient is,” Inspector Morrow said in a statement.
“When attending these jobs, it is paramount that the bleeding is under control as quickly as possible as it affects the patient’s recovery if they lose large pools of blood.”