Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Shark Attack Near Gracetown

Shark Attack Near Gracetown

A man in his 30s has been bitten by a shark near Gracetown in Western Australia's South West, with organisers temporarily suspending the nearby Margaret River Pro worldwide surfing competition.

The man in his 30s was bitten at Cobblestones Beach near Gracetown in Western Australia's south-west about 8am on Monday.

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.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning 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.

'They got him to shore and started working on him to stem the bleeding'.

"It swam under a couple of guys and came around and bit a third person", he said.

Jovic said he saw the man catch a wave "which he managed to body-surf all the way in".

There have been three fatal shark attacks in the area since 2004, when Bradley Smith was fatally mauled by a great white.

"He had cuts to both legs".

"It is possible the decomposing carcass will continue to act as an attractant that could lead to sharks coming close in to shore along this stretch of coast", a statement said.

The Margaret River Pro global surfing competition, which is about 15km away from the attack, was suspended for about one hour, but then resumed at Main Break with Kiwi Hareb one of the two surfers who went back in the water first.

Heats had today returned to Main Break in Prevelly but the competition was suspended after the attack.

"We are placing the Margaret River Pro on hold while we work with local authorities on next steps".

"The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority".

"We are confident, we wouldn't have resumed if we didn't feel that way", World Surf League (WSL) commissioner Kieren Perrow said.

"Further enhanced safety measures, including ski and drone presence, will be added to the event's mitigation protocols".

Surfers had been in action this morning in the competition before the attack.

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