Surfer mauled by shark swims to shore despite leg injuries

Surfer mauled by shark swims to shore despite leg injuries
Emergency vehicles at the scene of the shark attack in Gracetown, Australia. Photo: Anthony Pancia/Australian Broadcasting Corp via AP.

A surfer mauled by a shark off south-western Australia managed to swim to shore despite serious injuries to both of his legs, an official and a witness said.

Alejandro Travaglini, 37, was surfing at Gracetown at about 8am on Monday when he was attacked, St John Ambulance spokesman Dennis Bertoldo said.

The Argentinian was treated on the beach by paramedics before he was flown by helicopter 160 miles to a hospital in Perth, Bertoldo said.

The hospital described his condition as stable.

The attack prompted the World Surf League to postpone the nearby Margaret River Pro international surfing contest for about an hour.

Organisers said they had deployed additional shark-spotting drones and jet skis when the competition resumed to ensure competitors' safety.

Surf photographer Peter Jovic watched the attack from the beach and likened it to the live broadcast of a shark attack in South Africa in 2015.

Former champion surfer Mick Fanning escaped unscathed when a great white attacked his board as he waited to catch a wave.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment ... it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board," Jovic told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

"The surfer who was being attacked ended up miraculously body surfing into a little wave and getting pushed in by a local at the same time, who was out there with him, and making it to shore before everyone came to his aid," Jovic said.

Surfer mauled by shark swims to shore despite leg injuries

Lifeguards said a 13ft shark was spotted off a nearby beach two hours after the attack.

Nine Network television news reported a 41-year-old surfer sustained a large gash to his right thigh from a shark later on Monday at a beach near where the attack happened.

"Happy to be alive," the unnamed man told bystanders, who asked if he was OK. The man insisted he could drive himself to a hospital.

A surfer was killed by a shark at Gracetown in 2013.

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