A bodyboarder has been bitten by a shark in Australia.
Gonzalo Mompo Fernandez was boarding off Killalea State Park in an area known as The Farm on March 19 around 6:30 p.m. when he was bitten on his bum and inner thigh.
The 30-year-old backpacker was accompanied by several friends at the popular New South Wales location.
“We were paddling for a wave, or just going over the lip of a wave, and then the shark’s come up the back and tried to grab hold of his arse,” Jordan Hirst , a friend of Fernandez, told the Illawarra Mercury.
“He tried to bash it off and it kept swimming up . . . a few guys saw the tail splashing around. The shark was pushing itself on top of him. He was on a boogie board, so like lying down with his feet in the water, and it’s come up the back and the tail’s been smashing him on the leg,” he added.
“I started whacking it, hitting it hard until it let me go,” Fernandez told Seven News. “I was really scared and I started touching the backside of my bum to make sure it was all there. It was a terrible experience,” he added.
Fernandez was not seriously injured and did not require medical treatment.
Park manager Nathan Cattell said several dead eels and other wildlife had been spotted in the water, which could draw sharks in.
“The water is dirty, it was evening, there’s a fair bit of food about. It’s a no-brainer really,” he said.
A witness reported seeing “a grey shark, about 2 to 3 meters (7-10 ft)” latch onto the bodyboarder and speculated it may have been a bull shark. However, the small wounds did not appear consistent with a large bull shark bite.
Fernandez has not stopped enjoying the water. “Life is short and I don’t think a shark will take my life away,” he said.
In March of 2016, Brett Connellan was bitten while surfing at Bombo Beach located just south of The Farm. The 22-year-old received a severe bite on his left thigh and had to be transported to hospital by air.
There have been a total of 16 shark attack bites in 2017, 1 of which was fatal; 4 were reported in the US, all of which occurred in Florida. Five were reported in Australia, none were fatal, and one with no injury.
All locations have been marked on the 2017 shark attack bites tracking map.