PERTH, Australia – A surfer mutilated by a shark on Monday in southwestern Australia managed to swim to the coast despite suffering serious injuries to both legs, said an officer and a witness.
Alejandro Travaglini sailed in Gracetown around 8 a. When he was attacked, the spokesman for St. John's ambulance, Dennis Bertoldo, said. The 37-year-old man, born in Argentina, was treated on the beach by paramedics before flying by helicopter 250 kilometers (160 miles) to a hospital in the city of Perth, Bertoldo said.
The hospital described the condition of the victim as stable.
The attack caused the World Surf League to postpone the nearby Margaret River Pro international surfing contest for about an hour.
The organizers deployed unmanned drones and additional shark observation aircraft to skis when the competition resumed to ensure the safety of the competitors, said deputy commissioner of the league, Jessi Miley-Dyer.
"We wanted to get together again and make sure we have everything in the water to take care of the surfers," Miley-Dyer said in a statement on the league's website.
Surf photographer Peter Jovic saw the attack from the beach and compared it to the live broadcast of a shark attack in South Africa in 2015. Former surfer champion Mick Fanning escaped unharmed when a large white attacked his while waiting for catch a wave.
"If someone is familiar with the moment of Mick Fanning … it was very similar to that, where a shark almost jumped and ended up hitting a" The surfer who was being attacked miraculously ended up surfing in a small wave and being pushed by a local at the same time, who was out with him, "Jovic told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio
and reach the shore before everyone came to his aid," Jovic said.
Lifeguards said a 4-meter (13-foot) shark was discovered on a nearby beach two hours after the attack.
Nine Network television news reported that a 41-year-old surfer suffered a large injury to a shark's right thigh on Monday on a beach near the site of the attack.
"Happy to be alive," said the nameless man to the onlookers who asked him what was right. The man insisted he could go to a hospital.
A shark killed a surfer in Gracetown in 2013.