A teenage boy received paramedic attention Friday after he was bitten by a shark while spearfishing in the ocean, off Bannisters Headland, Mollymook Beach in New South Wales, Australia, according to reports. The 17-year-old was bitten on the wrist when he tried to stab the shark in an effort to “scare it off.”
Sam Smith was spearfishing near the beach in the coastal town of Ulladulla when the attack happened. He was later taken to Milton Ulladulla Hospital to be treated for multiple lacerations to his left hand and fingers, according to ABC News. Smith is currently in stable condition. The beach that was closest to the attack was reportedly closed while authorities checked if the rest of the area was safe. The shark was thought to be a bronze whaler, according to Donna Wishart, a spokeswoman for Surf Life Saving NSW.
"We've notified other beaches in the vicinity but at this stage the only beach that is closed is Narrawallee," Wishart said, according to ABC News, adding: "The Police have given us information that the shark was around one to one-and-a-half metres long."
The incident occurred while the weekend-long Country Surf Life Saving Championships, with over 1,000 competitors, was taking place at the Mollymook beach. The southern part of the beach, where the competition was taking place, was kept open while the northern part of the beach was closed as a precautionary step, Sky News reported.
"We've got our lifeguards out looking and surveilling the area and so if we decide there is a risk, we will be postponing or delaying the carnival," Wishart said, according to ABC News, adding: "Safety is obviously our biggest concern in any of these events and we've got water safety, inflatable rescue boats, jet skis, we've got people on rescue boards, so they are keeping a very close eye on things and we'll see if the situation changes."
Sam was spearfishing with his friend Luke Sisinni when he was attacked, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Sisinni said that Sam saw a shark in the water after which he “went down to film it.”
"He said it spun around and started coming for him, so he stabbed it with his spear to try and scare it off, but it just went ballistic and bit him," Sisinni said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that he ran toward Smith after "he came up screaming saying 'I got bitten by a shark.'"
Meanwhile, about 240 miles north, beaches in the Australian city of Newcastle, New South Wales, were closed for a seventh day on Friday after two large sharks were spotted in the water, including a 5-meter long great white, which has reportedly been sighted daily from last Saturday until Thursday, The Associated Press reported. In December, another teenage boy was killed in the Great Barrier Reef, while spearfishing, after he suffered severe blood loss after a shark attack.