17 year-old Sam Smith was bitten by what appears to be a Bronze Whaler shark in southern New South Wales last Friday. The attack occured near Bannister Head, just over a mile north of Mollymook beach and over 100 miles south of Sydney.
After spotting the shark while out spearfishing with a friend, Sam dived down to take a closer look and capture some footage of it with his GoPro – arguably not the most sensible of ideas. The shark started to approach him, so Sam tried to ward it off by jabbing at it with his spear. This only aggravated the shark, however, and it proceeded to attack Sam, biting him on his right-hand and wrist.
Sam was able to swim away, and was treated first on the beach by paramedics and then at the local Milton Hospital, before being airlifted to Sydney for specialist treatment. He is not thought to have suffered any permanent damage, and his mother Sue Smith thought he would be back in the water within a couple of months. Sam said he thought the shark was 1.5m long. GoPro footage of the attack can be seen above.
Fellow spearfisher Mark Brayne reported an encounter with a shark in the area the previous week, though he was not attacked. Bannister Head is roughly 200 miles south of Newcastle, where beaches were closed ten days ago following multiple shark sightings. Then over the weekend two fisherman had their fishing boat headbutted by a 5m Great White off of Blacksmiths beach, around 30 miles south of Newcastle. They caught the incident on camera.
It was a 5m Great White spotted close to the shore near Newcastle on 10th January that initially led to the closure of local beaches, and the same shark was sighted repeatedly over the following days. Beaches were reopened in Newcastle today.