Screams of ‘help me’ in shark attack
HORRIFIED onlookers watched helplessly as a surfer – missing an arm – flailed in the water shouting “help me, help me’’ after being attacked by a shark on the NSW Mid North Coast on Sunday.
Fellow surfers at Emerald Beach, near Coffs Harbour, were alerted to the attack by the man’s screams.
They paddled over to find the man – aged in his 20s – severely mauled and missing an arm.
He was helped to shore where a makeshift tourniquet was placed on him to stem the flow of blood from his severed limb until emergency services arrived. They were joined by paramedics from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, but the man could not be saved.
“I was out in the surf and I heard screaming, I paddled further out to the water and saw a man without an arm, there was lots of blood,” one onlooker said.
“He was shouting ‘help me, help me’. People were trying to get him out to shore, it didn’t look good.
“A couple of guys on the beach started CPR until paramedics arrived and took over, they worked on him for about an hour-and-a-half on the shore trying to resuscitate him.’’
The witness said the attack, which occurred at Shelly Beach in the suburb of Emerald Beach, was rare for the area.
“I’ve been surfing for 22 years at Emerald Beach and there’s never been an attack in my knowledge like this,” he said.
“I really feel for the dude’s family, it’s a popular beach.
“I’ll get back in the water, you have to, but not for a while. What I saw has really shaken me up.”
Following the attack, Surf Life Saving NSW volunteers attempted to put up a zone to search for the shark but were thwarted by heavy rain.
Four ambulance crews and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter were dispatched to the beach at 10.45am.
A critical team doctor and paramedic fought to save the man and were seen administering CPR but he did not survive “significant injuries’’ to his arm and back.
“It was devastating for everybody on the beach this morning,” NSW ambulance inspector Chris Wilson said.
“A number of local surfers and bystanders came to the aid of this man, they were incredibly brave in a very challenging situation.”
Emerald Beach, Shelly Beach and Serenity Bay were closed to water activity on Sunday while Department of Primary Industries officials monitored the situation.