A 32-year-old surfer was critically injured due to a shark attack in the Australian coastal town of Ballina on Thursday, reports said, citing authorities. The local man was surfing with two friends at the Lighthouse Beach when he was attacked.
The surfer suffered “significant injuries to his lower legs," a police statement said, according to the Associated Press (AP). The victim’s name has not been released yet.
Friends of the man helped him reach the shore from where he was taken to Gold Coast Hospital, about 60 miles toward north, police officials said, according to the AP. Ballina Shire Council Mayor David Wright, said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, that the shark was a “big one.” However, officials did not release any further details about the shark.
The Ballina Shire beaches will be closed for the next 24 hours, following the attack. Lifesavers are reportedly patrolling the region.
The attack comes a day before a junior surfing competition is set to start in nearby Lennox Head, a village in New South Wales, on Friday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing Wright. He added that 270 young surfers will attend the event.
The town had witnessed another attack in February, where a Japanese national, Tadashi Nakahara, was attacked by what was believed to be a bull shark and later succumbed to his injuries. The people who helped Nakahara "still haven't recovered and a lot of them haven't been back in the water since February," Wright said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
In 2008, 16-year-old Peter Edmonds died due to loss of blood after a shark attack on the Lighthouse Beach, while he was surfing with a friend, the AP reported.