Oz surfer has lucky escape

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shark net INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File image. Picture: Michael Walker

Sydney - Two popular Sydney beaches were closed Sunday after a surfer told lifeguards that a shark had knocked him off his board and left a 30-centimetre gash in the polyurethane.

Dee Why and Long Reef beaches were shut after off-duty lifeguard Danny Sheather, 23, raised the shark alarm.

“I got a wave, paddled in and got up and I was going along and felt this almighty hit from the bottom,” Sheather told local news agency AAP. “Then I turned over and there's this big chunk out of my board.”

Helicopters were sent out to shoo a shark out to sea.

“The shark was about 2.5 metres long and was inside the breaking waves close to shore,” a helicopter spokesman said. “It was swimming in circles between two rips right where the surfer was hit by something.”

Last week at Diamond Head Beach, 366 kilometres north of Sydney, a 29-year-old surfer had his finger bitten off by a shark and also sustained a large gash to the leg.

Australia has recorded an average of one fatal shark attack a year in the 50 years that proper records have been kept. - Sapa-dpa


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