A man has died after a shark attack at Tuncurry Beach on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Emergency services were called to the beach, just north of Forster, about 11:20am after receiving reports a man had been bitten by a shark while surfing.
NSW Police said first responders found the man, believed to be in his 50s, with “critical injuries to his upper right thigh”.
They pulled him from the water and attempted CPR, but were unable to revive him.
According to lifesavers, the man was in the beach town on a surfing holiday with friends.
Superintendent Christopher Schilt said the man had seen the shark before it attacked and he had tried to alert other surfers.
“It’s believed that when the attack occurred the man did actually see the shark and called out to try and warn others and, very heroically, his friends were able to bring him back in to shore after he had been attacked,” Superintendent Schilt said
Photographs of the bite are currently being analysed by shark scientists from the Department of Primary Industries who will try to determine the species and size of the shark involved.
The Mid North Coast Council has closed beaches from Black Head to One Mile at Forster for at least 24 hours.
Brian Wilcox from the local Surf Life Saving branch said the attack was “unprecedented”.
“I can’t recall ever having a shark attack in this area,” he said.
Mr Wilcox said a number of sharks had been spotted in the water since the attack.
“The process for Surf Life Saving now is to keep the beaches closed for 24 hours.
“We’ve already had a drone up in the air to see if we could spot some sharks in the area.
“There were a couple of sharks spotted, whether they were the one or not, who knows,” he said.
Superintendent Schilt said it was not known what species of shark was responsible.
“There were sharks sighted in the area, we were advised that there were at least two sharks of about three metres in length, the species of those sharks is unknown,” he said.
“At this stage were are working with Department of Primary Industries who’ve got people coming down here to identify the species of the shark that did attack the man.
“There was some damage to the board; the board will be getting forensically examined … we’ve got scientists from the DPI who are working with our forensic police and they will use the damage from the board to assess what kind of shark it was.”
The Department of Primary Industries is deploying SMART drumlines at Tuncurry Beach.
Any sharks caught will be tagged and released 1km from shore.
Surf Life Savers will continue to conduct drone patrols around Tuncurry Beach for the next few days.
Water users and beachgoers are advised to follow the NSW SharkSmart Twitter feed or download the SharkSmart app for the latest information on shark movements and sightings.