Australian surfer punches shark to escape attack

Sydney: An Australian surfer punched a shark that attacked him on Friday. He was later hospitalised as the giant fish bit his hand, arms and leg.

New South Wales (NSW) police said that the victim Craig Ison, 52, was undergoing surgery in a hospital near the town of Evans Head where he was attacked, Xinhua news agency reported. Officials said Ison was one of two people surfing around 100 metres off shore.

Around 6:00 a.m. local time, Ison spotted what he believed to be a shark and shouted out to the other surfer, also a man, to get out of the water. "We were just paddling out, we had not even got to the stage of trying to catch a wave and he called out to me, 'Go in, there's a shark!'" his surfing partner Geoff Hill said.

"Next thing, the shark grabbed him. All I saw was a lot of thrashing in the water (and) a rather large tail," Hill said. Hill said Ison managed to get back on his board and they both paddled in to the beach to administer first aid. "He was losing a fair bit of blood from his thigh and he had an injury on his hand from where he punched the shark," Hill said.

It was third shark attack in the area this month and there have been sightings of four to five meter sharks in the past two weeks. All local beaches have been closed for 24 hours. The attack came just over a week since Australian surfing champion Mick Fanning punched a shark in South Africa as it tried to attack him.

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