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Shark bites surfer in leg at Western Australia beach

Shark bites surfer in leg at Western Australia beach”

Witnesses said the shark knocked the surfer off his board, stunning onlookers, before the injured man managed to "body surf" back to shore.

Surf photographer Peter Jovic was on the beach and witnessed the surfer being mauled by the shark, ABC News reported.

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

The incident was reported on the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed, which broadcasts reports of shark sightings, just before 9am local time.

A spokeswoman for the event said the surf contest was under way at Margaret River's main break at the time of the attack.

"After discussing with local authorities, the water safety team and surfers, the WSL commissioner's office has made a decision to resume competition for the Margaret River Pro at Main Break at 10.40am, following a one-hour hold prompted by reports of a shark incident at Gracetown - approximately 15km away from the event site", a spokeswoman said.

Friends used the rope from the victim's board as a tourniquet and gave him first aid until emergency crews arrived from Margaret River within six minutes.

"We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", the WSL said in a tweet.

It is understood the man has lived in Gracetown for some time, with one friend describing him as "an awesome guy".

The man was reportedly bitten while surfing at Gracetown, where the Margaret River Pro is held.

"Surfer and staff safety are top priorities for the WSL and when competition resumes, further enhanced safety measures, including ski and drone presence, will be added to the event's mitigation protocols".

The man in his 30's was attacked at Cobblestone surfing spot before 8:00am this morning.

Beach closures are in place for the Gracetown area, including North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders.

A spokeswoman for the event said the comeptition wanted to make sure that the surfers were protected.

Father-of-two Nicholas Edwards died after being attacked by a large shark at South Point break near Gracetown in 2010.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the attack would make global news given the Margaret River Pro event was on nearby.

The Shark Smart website said a decomposing whale carcass closeby may be what attracted the predator. Under an agreement with the federal government, WA fisheries officers are authorised to kill sharks that are identified as causing an "serious threat" to human life, such as those involved in an attack.

Comment has been sought from the Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly.



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