Shark attack -- savage mauling at Fingal

SURFER Jonathan Beard was lucky to survive after being savagely attacked by a shark at Fingal yesterday.

Paramedics said Mr Beard, 31, received a "substantial bite" to the upper left thigh while surfing about 70m offshore at Dreamtime Beach.

The Brisbane man yesterday remained in a stable condition at Gold Coast Hospital, with authorities saying the wound was not life-threatening.

The attack occurred just before 9.30am about 500m south of Fingal Headland. Mr Beard's friend, known only as Chad, said his mate managed to swim to shore after being bitten by the shark.

"There was an attack from down below, it hit him on one of the legs," Chad said. "There were all dolphins surrounding us at the time. "He knew what had happened. He called out 'Shark!' and he got this hit of adrenaline straight afterwards, which got him in so far and then we helped him to shore.

"I don't really know what to say, I'm a bit shaken. The main thing is it didn't hit a main artery and he didn't bleed to death on us."

Mr Beard's friends were able to stop the bleeding by using the leg rope from a surfboard as a tourniquet before surf lifesavers and paramedics arrived on the scene.

NSW Ambulance paramedics praised the man's friends for their quick thinking.

"They utilised a leg rope and made a tourniquet," Kingscliff paramedic Syd Francis said.

Mr Francis said it appeared Mr Beard lost a lot of blood before his friends secured the leg. "They improvised and they'd done a good job. They certainly didn't do the wrong thing," he said. Mr Francis estimated the deep wound to be about 30cm long and 20cm wide and said it reached bone.

"It was quite a substantial bite, pretty well down to bone level. There were also smaller teeth marks around the wound.

"But there didn't appear to be any major blood vessel involvement. He was a lucky man. "He was in what we'd class as shock when we got there. His blood pressure was a bit low and he was pale and sweating."

Paramedics set up a drip and gave Mr Beard pain relief.

Surf lifesavers could not say what type of shark was involved and said nothing was sighted during a search of the area yesterday.

Ian Thomason was on the beach yesterday and saw the surfer after the attack.

"It was a pretty deep wound with a large flap (of skin) out of his leg," Mr Thomason said. "It also took a chunk out of his board.

"But he was very brave. His mates did a good job too. They wrapped him up really well and stopped the bleeding."

He said no one knew what sort of shark was involved. "The guys with him said they saw just the grey of the body in the water."

After being stabilised by paramedics Mr Beard was placed into an RACQ Careflight helicopter on Fingal Road and was airlifted to the Gold Coast Hospital at about 10.30am.



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