Byron-Ballina region closes all beaches until Tuesday after 7th shark bite incident

By @vitthernandez on
Shark Bite
The 38-year-old surfer was conscious and breathing with injuries that are not life-threatening. Instagram/Geoffrey Knapp

Byron-Ballina region authorities closed all beaches in the area until Tuesday after the 7thshark bite incident in 2016 was recorded. On Monday morning, police received a call at 7:30 am that a man checked himself in to Byron Bay Hospital after he was bitten by a shark.

The incident happened at a beach between Suffolk Park and Broken Head, south of Byron, according to police. Sydney Morning Herald reports that the 38-year-old surfer was conscious and breathing with injuries that are not life-threatening. Aaron Hoffman, another surfer who was with the victim before he was taken to the hospital, said the victim was not expressing much pain. He estimates the shark bite on the surfboard was about 300 millimetres, with some blood stain left on the board.

Geoffrey Knapp, who witnessed the attack and posted on Instagram a photo of the victim’s bites, says the surfer was part of a group of surfers in the area. He noticed two surfers begin to paddle very quickly toward the beach which Knapp found strange, ABC reports.

Since there were dolphins that morning swimming with the surfers, Knapp thought they surfers mistook the dolphins for sharks. It turned out one was a shark which caused three puncture wounds on the victim’s thigh. Knapp used a first aid kit from his car to provide initial treatment to the injury. Emergency services also helped the male shark-bite victim.

Although authorities used sirens to clear the water and close the beach, which would remain close until Tuesday morning, according to Surf Life Saving NSW, some people ignored the warnings. On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered at Ballina to protest the plan to install shark nets in the area.

Before the Monday incident, in September, a shark bit 17-year-old Cooper Allen on the upper thigh while he was surfing at Lighthouse beach at Ballina.