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February 28, 2021

Bull shark blamed for Ballina attack

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A Bull shark is believed responsible for an attack on a 20-year-old surfer at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina. (Pic: Wikipedia)
A Bull shark is believed responsible for an attack on a 20-year-old surfer at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina. (Pic: Wikipedia)

Ballina's shark attack victim being prepped at Ballina Airport for transport to Gold Coast University Hospital.(Picture Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter)
Ballina’s shark attack victim being prepped at Ballina Airport for transport to Gold Coast University Hospital.(Picture Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter)

Sam Morgan, the victim of yesterday's shark attack in Ballina. (Facebook)
Sam Morgan, the victim of yesterday’s shark attack in Ballina. (Facebook)

Update: A bull shark around three metres is believed responsible for an attack on a 20-year-old  man at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina around 6pm yesterday.

The man, Sam Morgan, was last night flown to a Gold Coast hospital for surgery on serious wounds to his left thigh.

Following surgery, he was reportedly in a stable condition, but in an induced coma.

Emergency services responded to reports that the 20-year-old had been bitten by a shark while surfing at Lighthouse Beach about 6.25pm.

Mr Morgan made his own way out of the water and was assisted by other beachgoers.

Police said he sustained serious wounds to his left thigh and was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance Paramedics before being taken to Ballina Airport.

About 7.30pm, he was flown by Westpac Rescue helicopter Lifesaver One to the Gold Coast University Hospital about 7.30pm.

Following surgery, he was reportedly in a stable condition, but in an induced coma.

Police said they would be liaising with NSW Surf Lifesaving, Ballina Shire Council and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) regarding the incident.

DPI shark experts are on scene and will investigate the incident today.

Initial investigations by the Department of Primary Industries suggested the shark in question was possibly a bull shark, approximately 2.8 to 3.1 metres in length.

The beach has been closed for a minimum of 24 hours while investigations continue.

Time for action

With the summer season approaching, the incident has galvanised the Ballina community to call for immediate action from the state government.

Ballina mayor David Wright has called for the funding of more flyovers, lifeguards and ‘eco’ shark nets ahead of the holidays.

Le-Ba boardriders club president Don Munro told ABC the time for talk was over.

‘It’s taken the minister and the premier a long time to move on it. They’ve talked about a lot of things they want to implement. Let’s see it happen now!’

Mr Munro said Mr Morgan, who has a World Surf League junior ranking of 33, is a ‘well known and well loved’ member of the Ballina surfing community, an extremely talented young pro surfer, adding he was confident he would return to the water as soon as he was able.

Le-Ba Boardriders posted a message of support for their injured friend on the club’s Facebook page.

‘We are all thinking of you mate and praying that you will be OK,’ the post said.

‘Praying for you Sammy and the rest of your family,’ Joe McDonald commented on the post.

‘Oh Sam wishing u a speedy recovery mate,’ Jane Carr wrote.

Surfing NSW also posted messages of support on Facebook.

‘Our thoughts are with you and the entire north coast surfing community,’ it said.

At least 14 shark attacks have been recorded in NSW this year, including a serious attack on bodyboarder Mat Lee in July at the same beach and a fatality nearby, when Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara, 41, was killed at Shelly Beach on February 9

Original report – Tuesday, 7.20pm: A man has been seriously injured while surfing at East Ballina this afternoon (Tuesday,  November 10) after what is believed to have been a shark bite.

About 6.25pm emergency services responded to reports of a 20-year-old man who had been bitten while surfing at Lighthouse Beach.

He made his own way out of the water and was assisted by other beach-goers.

The man sustained serious wounds to his left thigh.

He has been taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Emergency services were still on site during the evening. The beach has been closed for a minimum of 24 hours.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. After flying at low level 300ft from Yamba to Byron and spotting several sharks (~3m) and a very large one (~6m) just south of Ballina…. I fear there may be more deaths if there is not some method of spotting sharks implemented. I know that a Gyro Pilot from Byron (Tyagara) was flying in the last school holidays and spotted many sharks. A method of communicating with Surf Clubs must be linked to this capability and this aerial surveillance capability extended to cover more beaches. Reporting on sighting from the air is an effective method to alert the public, in addition being able to report on the clarity of water to indicate that the presence of sharks is unknown due to prevailing water clarity is also a very useful approach to heighten awareness of possible danger.

    I urge our decision makers to look further in how this approach can be implimented and rolled out very very cost effectively. If any wishes to discuss this please contact me as follows: [email protected]

  2. Surfing at this time is doubling the risk. Diving at this time I see a huge increase in feeding. The difference is like boxing day sales. Great time for fishing. Perhaps a study on a safer time of day and some warnings to surfers.
    Kathy

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