A 35-year-old Australian surfer had his board split his half and his leg gashed by what he thought was a great white shark. He was "lucky to be alive," as friends took him to Ballina Hospital for wound treatment.
The New South Wales native was surfing at Main Beach on early Sunday morning, Sep. 10, when what he believed to be a great white shark slammed him from underwater, impacting him through his board.
The hit was powerful enough to snap the board in half and send him sailing through the air, according to the victim. A photo of the board, neatly split in half by the impact, was posted later on social media.
The surfer then saw the shark circling around before turning away. At that point, he grabbed half of his broken surfboard to use as a swimming board and swam to shore. Once safe, friends took a look at the wide gash on the right side of his hip, and he was driven to Ballina Hospital for treatment, according to ABC Australia.
The Australian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has ordered Main beach closed after the incident, along with nearby Bluff beach. The agency has also begun to put into effect a shark incident response plan.
Amber Hopkins, a witness who saw the aftermath of the attack, noted that "This man is lucky to be alive." New South Wales has begun to place nets in five beaches on the North Coast starting December 2016, as a response to a rash of shark attacks late last year.
Thirty-five shark alert devices were also being deployed between Evans Head and Lennox Head to prevent more shark attack casualties. There were 14 incidents involving a swimmer and a shark in the past two years in the area, according to DPI.