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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Man punches shark during attack at Evans Head

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A picture of shark attack victim Craig Ison's surfboard, posted to Facebook.
A picture of shark attack victim Craig Ison’s surfboard, posted to Facebook.

Shark victim Craig Ison is transferred to Lismore Base Hospital. (photo Sunrise Channel 7)
Shark victim Craig Ison is transferred to Lismore Base Hospital. (photo Sunrise Channel 7)

A man punched a shark after it bit him on his leg this morning in an attack at Evans Head.

The victim has been named as Evans Head local,  Craig Ison.

Mr Ison was surfing with his friend Geoff Hill, of Woodburn.

‘We were just paddling out this morning and Craig was 20m ahead of me,’ Mr Hill said.

‘Then he said, “Go in, there’s a shark”

‘But it grabbed him as he turned around … he managed to get himself on his board.

Mr Hill said it was like watching a replay of professional surfer Mick Fanning being attacked.

Police said the shark bit Mr Ison’s left leg, while he was paddling. The impact of the attack knocked him off his board.

Mr Ison punched the shark in an attempt to scare it away; during the struggle, the shark also bit his left arm.

Mr Ison eventually made it to shore where a passer-by applied a tourniquet to his leg.

Police were called to Main Beach, Evans Head about 6.20am, shortly after the attack.

Emergency services attended the beach and started working on the man, who had sustained puncture wounds to his legs and hands.

A doctor and two paramedics worked on Mr Ison while the third paramedic drove them to Lismore Base Hospital.

A police officer drove the empty vehicle the doctor had arrived in back to its base in Lismore.

The 52-year-old victim is now at Lismore Hospital undergoing treatment.

Main Beach and two other local beaches – Shark Bay and Chinamans Beach – have all been closed until 6.30am tomorrow. The situation will be re-assessed tomorrow morning.

This morning’s attack follows a spate of attacks in north coast waters in recent times.

Earlier this month a bodyboarder was mauled by a shark at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, suffering serious injuries to his lower legs.

In February, a large great white shark tore the legs off 41-year-old surfer, Tadashi Nakaharaa, in a fatal attack at the neighbouring Shelly Beach.

This morning attack at Evans Head coincides with a meeting today in Ballina between shark experts, politicians and Ballina Shire Council.

The council will appeal to politicians to help fund measures to prevent further shark attacks in local waters.

Ballina mayor David Wright said the council was not in a position to continue funding aerial surveillance but said it was an important part of the strategy to prevent further attacks.

Cr Wright spoke with Echonetdaily following the closure of Ballina’s beaches earlier this week after a large shark was spotted at Angels Beach, cruising about 50 metres out to sea in a gutter between the break and the shoreline.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of Primary Industries confirmed the shark involved in this morning’s attack was believed to be a Great White.







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  1. The council may not be able to fund aerial surveillance but Bronwyn Bishop’s parliamentary office could send her along to assist, I understand she’s an expert in managing helicopters.

  2. Heeeelllooooo! Bit of a no brainer surfing or swimming at Ballina atm!! What was Mr Ison thinking??? Or was it an opportunity for some media attention? (Surely not) But hasn’t he been listening to the news of late? Probably best to avoid surfing there if you value your limbs & life!


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