Still standing: Mia Merlini received 19 stiches in her legs after an attack by an unidentified marine animal.
Still standing: Mia Merlini received 19 stiches in her legs after an attack by an unidentified marine animal. Blainey Woodham

Shark fears as girl mauled

LITTLE Mia Merlini has bandages covering her gashed and punctured legs after a vicious suspected shark attack.

Seven-year-old Mia was swimming in Cudgen Creek at Kingscliff at 5pm Thursday when the creature began to bite and tear at her legs.

She was pulled from the water and taken to a doctor’s surgery before being taken to the Tweed Hospital.

The scared little girl received 13 stiches in her left leg and six in her right leg.

Mia’s mother Susan Germann said she was terrified when she received the news her daughter may have been attacked by a shark.

“She felt something biting at her legs and she began to scream. She was taken to the hospital and heavily anaesthetised while they looked at her legs,” Ms Germann said.

“I was absolutely shaken when I heard what had happened. She was only waist-deep in the water but I would definitely think twice before I let her go in the water there again.

“She was swimming with two other friends and it is a very popular swimming spot. The Coastguard said they had never heard of anyone being bitten there before.”

Ms Germann said her daughter was visiting her father in Kingscliff when she was attacked.

After hearing the news, Ms Germann raced from her Mullumbimby home to be with her daughter at the Tweed Hospital.

Mia described the terrifying underwater attack as painful.

“I was swimming in the water and something started biting at my legs, it really hurt,” Mia said.

“It was scary but I don’t know what it was; it might have been an eel.

“I’ve been swimming there before but nothing has ever bitten me. I have stiches in my leg now and I have to lie down and rest for the rest of the week.”

A shaken Ms Germann hoped no Tweed parents would have to live through the same nightmare and receive a phone call saying a shark had mauled their little girl.

“I want to warn other parents and other kids to be careful so this does not happen again,” Ms Germann said.

“You need to be careful of what’s in the water system.”

A spokesman from Industry and Investment New South Wales said the creature had not been identified.

“Shark experts are yet to inspect any evidence or see photographs,” said the spokesman.

“However, based on initial information we have received, this is most likely a fish, not a shark.”



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