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Bodyboarder fights for life after Australia shark attack

SYDNEY: A bodyboarder was fighting for his life on Thursday after being attacked by a shark on Australia’s east coast, close to where a Japanese surfer was killed earlier this year, rescue officials said.

Emergency crews were called shortly after 10am (0000 GMT) after being alerted to the 32-year-old being mauled off Ballina, a popular tourist spot south of Brisbane.

“The 32-year-old local was bodyboarding with two friends when he was bitten by a shark, suffering significant injuries to his lower legs,” police said in a statement, adding that he was in a critical condition.

“His friends assisted him to shore and contacted emergency services.

“He was treated at the scene by paramedics and it is anticipated he will be airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital.”

The attack was in the same area where Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara, 41, died after his legs were torn off by a shark in February.

The scene of the latest attack, Lighthouse Beach, was where Peter Edmonds, 16, was killed by a shark while bodyboarding in 2008, national radio reported.

A surfer in the water at the time of Thursday’s incident said he paddled back to shore as quickly as he could to try and help.

“All I could see was a lot of blood on the blanket that was wrapped around his leg,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“His mate who brought him in, he was in shock.”

Beaches in the area have been closed for at least 24 hours.

Sharks are a regular feature in Australian waters, and swimmers and surfers have had their share of encounters with the animals this year, with the most recent attack in April west of Adelaide, in southern Australia.

Experts say attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular but fatalities remain rare. – AFP

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