An Australian scuba diver survived after a bull shark mauled him near the Great Barrier Reef in northern Queensland on Saturday. According to emergency services, the 55-year-old had to wait more than eight hours to receive treatment for his wounds.
According to local reports, the man suffered injuries to his hand, chest and stomach after being aggressively attacked by the shark that resulted in significant blood loss. David Cameron, a flight paramedic with Queensland Ambulance Service, said that the victim was free diving with a friend east of Murray Island in the Torres Strait when the bull shark attacked from behind.
“The bull shark has come up from behind and has unfortunately bitten the patient on the arm several times and bitten him on the stomach,” Cameron said, according to the Guardian, adding that “he was able to swim up to safety and back onto the boat with no further damage.”
Officials reportedly said that bad weather prevented the man from being rescued by helicopter, and he was taken by boat 54 nautical miles to the nearest medical facility on Murray Island where he received treatment.
Cameron told the Guardian that the victim will undergo surgery Sunday in Cairns, where the man hails from.
“When you start to talk about four-meter sharks up here in the Torres Strait, you’re very lucky to walk away. It sounds like the shark was on a bit of a mission,” he added.
Over the last few years, there have been several incidents of shark attacks in Australia, especially off the western coast.
In 2014, the Western Australia government introduced a controversial shark cull after a number of attacks off the state’s coast. [/restrict]