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Surfer jumps on shark, punches it to save woman

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The woman suffered severe lacerations to her lower right leg, and was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition.

A surfer jumped on a great white shark to save a woman it was attacking. Picture: New South Wales Lifesaving

SYDNEY – A surfer leapt on the back of a three-metre shark attacking a woman and punched it until it let go, Australian media reported on Saturday.

The 35-year-old woman was surfing at Shelly Beach near Port Macquarie, 385 kilometres north of Sydney, when the shark bit down on her right leg and began mauling her.

A fellow surfer then came to her aid, Surf Life Saving chief executive Steven Pearce told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“The shark would not release her so a surfer literally jumped on its back and hit it to release,” Pearce said.

The woman suffered severe lacerations to her lower right leg, and was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition.

“I absolutely commend the bravery of the surfers who assisted her,” Pearce said.

“Witnesses said it was a (great) white shark, but that’s unconfirmed. The Department of Primary Industries will analyse the bite marks to confirm that.”

Pearce said beachgoers must be “shark smart”.

“Realistically we shouldn’t be surfing at dusk or at dawn. But most attacks we’ve seen this year have been at all times of the day, so it’s difficult.”

Sharks follow migrating whales travelling along Australia’s east coast from the Antarctic Ocean.

Six people have been killed by sharks in Australian waters so far in 2020, and another six severely injured according to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo Shark Attack File. This makes it one of the worst years for shark attacks on record.

– DPA