A teenager is said to be in good spirits after sustaining “significant injuries” after he was “mobbed” and attacked by up to a dozen sharks off the coast of Arnhem Land on Sunday.
The 17-year-old was with a group on a boat when he was bitten on his arm and leg by what authorities initially believed to be a reef shark while spearfishing off Nhulunbuy, about 970 kilometres east of Darwin, on Sunday.
CareFlight spokesman David Wheeldon the teen was suffering “deep lacerations” – most severely on his arm – before he was flown to the Royal Darwin Hospital.
“He was in good spirits by the time he got back to Darwin,” Mr Wheedon said.
“The young man explained to the CareFlight nurse that he had been mobbed by more than 10 sharks.”
The boy remains in a stable condition in hospital.
Craig Garraway from St John Ambulance said the boy returned to the boat where he had been spearfishing with friends, before being retrieved by police and paramedics shortly after midday.
He was then taken to the Nhulunbuy Regional Hospital at Gove, where his injuries were assessed.
“Due to the significant injuries to his arm, they decided he would be best flown to Darwin for further treatment,” Mr Garraway said.
“Obviously there’s quite a large amount of bleeding that’s occurred.
“I believe the people on the boat have done an amazing job to stem the bleeding and to give him first aid treatment prior to the arrival of paramedics.”
Mr Garraway said shark attacks in the Northern Territory were rare.
“I’ve been around a long time and I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a shark attack,” he said.
“I did time over at Nhulunbuy and I’ve been involved in Nhulunbuy for a long time and I can’t recall one over there.
“I’m sure there has been [one] somewhere, but it is very rare for this to occur in the territory.”
-with ABC, AAP