Australian Surfer Attacked by Shark

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The surfer was attacked by a bull shark like this one above.
Corbis

THE GIST

- The surfer suffered two bites but managed to get himself ashore.

- Sharks are common in the waters of Australia but fatal attacks are rare.

A surfer was recovering Wednesday after being bitten by a shark on Australia's Gold Coast when he fell off his board and landed on the predator.

The animal, believed to be a bull shark, bit Billy O'Leary twice, slicing his flesh down to the bone and severely damaging his Achilles tendon, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

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O'Leary, 20, managed to get himself ashore at Nobbys Beach where friends bound the wound to stem the bleeding and alerted authorities.

"There were two bites. One is sort of half in his calf, that's taken a big chunk out of that," fellow surfer Tim Windisch told the newspaper.

"The other one is down to his heel. It's just right down to the bone. You could see the bone."

Chief lifeguard Warren Young said it appeared O'Leary landed on the bull shark, an aggressive species known for its tendency to attack humans.

"He feels like he perhaps landed on it -- he's come off his board and landed on it doing an aerial," Young said.

"That's what he's said to us, so maybe he's landed on it and it's reacted.

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"Being a small shark and the water's a bit discoloured, you're not going to see it…we think it was perhaps a bull shark."

Sharks are common in Australian waters but fatal attacks are rare, with just 27 people killed in the past 22 years.

The Gold Coast is a popular tourist destination and attracts hordes of local and international visitors every year.

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