Teenage surfer Cooper Allen, who was bitten by a shark off a Ballina beach this morning, has escaped with only a few stitches from the ordeal.
The 17-year-old was surfing off Lighthouse Beach at 9am on Monday when he was attacked by the shark, which bit him once on his upper thigh.
The teen was treated by lifesavers before being taken to Lismore Base Hospital by ambulance.
It is the first day of the NSW school holidays, and the first day that ASL Lifeguards were rostered at the beach to help out.
Fortunately for Cooper, the bite missed the major femoral artery that, once severed, often spells the death knell for many shark attack victims.
Board took brunt
It’s believed his board took the brunt of the attack. It is currently being inspected by DPI staff.
The three-year trial of an eco-barrier safety net for the beach was abandoned less than two weeks ago after being trashed in rough weather.
Cooper reportedly told News Corp earlier this year he thought the barriers were ‘a waste of money’ and surfers ‘risked shark attacks whenever they went into the water’.
Cooper’s friend and fellow surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed in a similar attack at the same beach in February last year.
There have been three other attacks along the same stretch of coast in the last two years.
Two different ‘alternative’ shark net trials were proposed for Ballina’s beaches in the months that followed Tadashi’s death, but both have since been abandoned.
Great white spotted
All beaches within the Ballina shire will be closed for at least the next 24 hours.
Richmond LAC police spokesperson Nicole Bruce told local media the shark could have been a four metre great white recently spotted further off shore.
– with AAP