A 17-year-old Australian surfer suffered deep lacerations to his leg after being attacked by what some suspect was a great white shark. The heroic lifeguards of Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach were able to snap into action quickly and get 17-year-old Cooper Allen life-saving medical attention before it was too late.
Normally, this would be just another ‘surfer attacked by shark’ headline but there’s a twist here: the surfer attacked by the shark had previously gone on the record and spoken with a local newspaper regarding a protective shark net at the beach, calling it a waste of money and saying ‘I don’t think there is any need for it’. I think it’s fair to say that high schooler Cooper Allen thinks VERY differently after suffering extreme lacerations to his leg in this shark attack.
Rod McGuirk of the Associated Press reports on CharlotteObserver.com:
The shark struck from behind and bit across the board’s fins as the boy lay on the board paddling. The shark’s lower jaw tore into the fiberglass as its upper teeth clamped his right hip and thigh, Wright said.
“The shark lacerated his leg in three or four places fairly deep,” Wright said. “Luckily the lifeguards were on duty and got down there quickly.”
“He should be OK. It was very close to his artery,” Wright added.
The state government last month abandoned plans to safeguard Lighthouse Beach with a 700-meter (770-yard) nylon shark barrier.
Three attempted trials “identified significant installation and maintenance issues,” the government said.
Allen, who had been a friend of Nakahara, told The Australian newspaper in July that such a barrier would be a waste of money.
“We still go out there without the net, at our own choice. I don’t think there is any need for it,” Allen told The Australian.
This protective shark net/safety barrier became a hot topic of discussion at this particular beach in Australia after Tadashi Nakahara, a 41-year-old Japanese tourist, died in February of last year after being attacked by a shark. Since that fatal attack on Nakahara there have been four more shark attacks require hospitalization of the victim which prompted the outcry for protective measures. Ultimately, that plan to put out a shark net was shot down, in part due to local surfers like 17-year-old Cooper Allen (above) who was just severely wounded from this most recent attack.
Though local authorities have now dismissed plans for a protective shark net they’re now exploring the use of drones and other devices to scan the waters for sharks.
CharlotteObserver.com goes on to note that Australia averages fewer than two fatal shark attacks per year, though there were two earlier this Summer when a 60-year-old man died after being attacked off of Perth and a week prior to that a 29-year-old surfer died after losing his leg to a shark attack.