SYDNEY (AP) — A 35-year-old surfer was taken to a hospital after a shark snapped his board, tore his hip and flung him into the air Sunday off the Australian east coast.
Abe McGarth was surfing at Iluka on the north coast of New South Wales state Sunday when what he described as a 3.5-meter (11-foot) great white shark attacked the board from underneath, a police statement said.
"As a result of the impact, the board has snapped. The injured victim has gone into the air and then re-entered the water," the statement said.
"He has told police the shark began to circle and then turned away," police said.
McGrath grabbed half his board and surfed to shore, police said. McGrath's friends drove him to Ballina Hospital. He was then flown to Lismore Hospital for further treatment and discharged Sunday night.
The shark's teeth tore McGrath's wetsuit and left a gash on his right hip.
McGrath's friend Bryce Cameron was on the beach during the attack. If McGrath had been sitting on the board instead of lying on it when the shark struck, he would have lost his leg, Cameron said.
"The board has snapped in half straight away and that is when the shark's teeth hit his leg," Cameron told Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"He is pretty much the luckiest man on Earth right now," Cameron added.
A 37-year-old surfer had a similar lucky escape two weeks ago when he was attacked by a 3-meter (10-foot) great white shark off the southeast Australian coast.
Marcel Brundler was left with a superficial scratch on his back, a torn wetsuit and teeth marks in his board when he was attacked near Lorne in Victoria state.