A young surfer had a lucky escape after being hit by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay. Photo: Twitter - Geoffrey John Knapp.
A young surfer had a lucky escape after being hit by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay. Photo: Twitter - Geoffrey John Knapp.

Shark victim: "I just want to enjoy being alive today'

THE Byron Bay surfer attacked by a shark says he is lucky to be alive after a shark threw him from his board while surfing at Broken Head.

Jade Fitzpatrick, speaking with News Corp Australia in his first interview since the ordeal, said he is "all good" after being stitched up at hospital.

"I just want to enjoy being alive today," he said.

"I'm all good mate."

He said he was lucky the shark, which left three puncture wounds in his leg and took chunks out of his brand new board, was very "small".

Mr Fitzpatrick, 36, was attacked just after 7.30am (NSW time) and was released from Byron Central Hospital hours later.

Geoffrey Knapp, who administered first aid at the scene, said the victim had been lying on his board when the shark attacked.

The fiberglass board took the brunt of the bite, Mr Knapp said.

The victim "clearly saw the tail and he got the impression that the shark was trying to knock him off his surfboard and roll him over," Mr Knapp said.

Police said  the man was surfing between Suffolk Park and Broken Head, near Byron Bay, when his leg was bitten by what is believed to be a shark.

"A friend assisted the man and drove him to Byron Bay Hospital.

"The surfer received puncture wounds to his left upper thigh; his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

"Beaches are closed as a result of the incident. Officers from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command are working with officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries."

UPDATE 10am:

A SPOKESWOMAN from the Northern NSW Local Area Health District confirmed the victim of this morning's shark encounter was a 36-year-old man.

He received an injury to his left leg, has been treated at Byron Central Hospital, and will soon be discharged.

UPDATE 9.40am: AN investigation into this morning's shark attack has been announced by the Department of Primary Industries.

DPI shark experts will assess the injured surfer's lacerations on his thigh help determine the species of shark.

Marine biologist, Daniel Bucher said the shape of the lacerations and the spacing between them are key factors to identifying the shark.

Mr Bucher said the injured surfer and witnesses of the attack will be also interviewed.



Surfer hit by shark near Byron Bay: beaches closed

A  surfer has escaped with puncture marks to his thigh after an encounter with a shark at a Northern NSW beach this morning.

The surfer was left with a leg injury and a damaged board.

All beaches across Byron Bay including the patrolled Main Beach will remain closed for at least the next 24 hours.

Surf Life Saving NSW have said that the incident occurred at around 7:30am today in the stretch of water between Suffolk Park Beach and Broken Head.

The area was not patrolled at the time.

It is believed that the shark emerged from under the man while he was waiting for a wave.

The man's surfboard took the brunt of the impact with the man also suffering minor lacerations to his leg during the incident.

The man has since sought assistance at a local medical facility where he was driven to by a friend.

Police and Lifeguards have been on-scene clearing the water of swimmers and surfers, and a Duty Officer from Tweed Heads also attended.

Lifeguards from Byron Bay will be conducting a sweep of the beach periodically throughout the morning and the public is urged to avoid the area throughout today.

The species of the shark involved is not known and the matter has been referred to the NSW Department of Primary Industries for further investigation.

A decision on when to reopen the beaches will be made on Tuesday morning after consultation with all stakeholders.

Earlier, a spokeperson for the Northern NSW Local Area Health District confirmed that a man has been treated by a local hospital following a shark attack this morning.

The spokeswoman said the man brought himself in to the Byron Central Hospital and was triaged as non-urgent.

He had minor lacerations to the knee area. 

Local Belinda Holland witnessed the incident and said it was "freaky", the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

"His board went flying into the area and he had a big chunk out of his leg and side. There was a lot of blood which was pretty freaky."

The attack comes just weeks after a 25-year-old was bitten on the leg at nearby Sharpes Beach on October 13 and a month after Cooper Allen, 17, survived an attack at Ballina on September 26.

EARLIER: A surfer who may have been attacked by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay has made his own way to hospital, according to reports.

The incident occurred around 7.30am at the beach and is believed to involve a male surfer with injuries to his left thigh and leg.

It is unknown how severe the person is injured or what type of shark was involved in the incident.


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