The West

Unknown hero saves shark victim
Jon Hines. Picture: Jon Hines, Pacephoto, Facebook

A local surfing legend has described the moment he realised surfer Jon Hines was attacked by a shark at a remote beach in the Gascoyne.

Jeff Goulden, known as Camel, grabbed 34-year-old Mr Hines and pulled him on to his surfboard after the shark struck.

Mr Goulden told Seven News Mr Hines called for help after the attack.

"He was yelling out "my arm, my arm", I paddled really fast toward the shore, it took just like a minute or two to get him ashore I paddled really fast," he said.

"We saw it just thrashing around and saw a bit of its body."

Local camp ground manager Jim Caldwell said Mr Goulden dragged the man to the shore using a big surfboard.

"He did really well," he said,

Camel is a well-known surfer at Red Bluff, a remote stretch of coast near Quobba Station about 160km north of Carnarvon.

Beachgoers rushed to the Mr Hines' aid, wrapping him in towels and putting him into the back of a borrowed car, Mr Caldwell said.

He had severe injuries to his right arm and abdomen. The shark struck about 3.30pm.

The victim then faced a 1½ hour drive over bumpy dirt tracks before an ambulance met them and took him to Carnarvon Hospital.

Mr Hines was flown to Royal Perth Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service last night. He is undergoing surgery to his right arm where he has received an extensive laceration. He is understood to be in a stable condition.

Fisheries Department regional manager Tony Cappelluti said fisheries would be at Red Bluff this morning and a boat would be on standby in Coral Bay as a precautionary measure.

He said said there was no plan to hunt for the shark.

“We’re not going to be looking for sharks, we don’t know what species it was, we have no information whatsoever so none of that information has been updated since yesterday,” he said.

The beach is expected to be closed all day today.

The shark attack victim at Jandakot airport last night. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Mr Caldwell, who sat holding the man in the back seat during the drive, said rescuers kept talking to him to keep him coherent.

"It was all about keeping the pressure on, the blood loss was our biggest concern."

He said that despite the injuries, Mr Hines was in good spirits. "He was doing well, he looked to me like he was tough as nails," Mr Caldwell said.

He said the victim was surfing at the popular beach with his brother.

Mr Caldwell's 15-year-old daughter Imogen was one of about 10 people in the water at the time of the attack and had seen blood and someone "asking for help".

His wife Rebecca said the "water was full of blood".

A surfer himself, Mr Caldwell said shark sightings were not uncommon along the spectacular stretch of pristine coast but locals were usually unperturbed by them.

"I was hoping an attack would never happen up here," he said.

Tim Meecham, who owns a campsite at Red Bluff, said the attack was a "random sort of thing".

"There were people further out and people closer in from where the man was surfing," he said.

Mr Meecham said the incident was a stark reminder of the difficulties emergency rescue authorities faced in the region.

Locals, spearheaded by community group the Desert Diamonds, have been pushing for a rescue helicopter to be permanently stationed in the Gascoyne.

Mr Meecham said dirt roads and sheer distance often hampered emergency rescue efforts.

Fisheries Department regional manager Tony Cappelluti said authorities were not sure what type of shark had attacked the man.

As of last night, the department had not made plans to hunt the shark.

Carnarvon Shire chief executive Maurice Battilana said Red Bluff was a world-renowned surfing spot popular with tourists.

He said he had been contacted by the Department of Environment and Conservation, which was seeking co-operation to close the beach.

He said the shire would be guided by the DEC over how long the beach would remain closed.

In April last year, a 17-year-old youth was bitten on the heel by a shark while cleaning fish at Red Bluff.

Yesterday's incident is the sixth serious shark attack in less than a year in WA. The previous five attacks were all fatal, with the most recent near Wedge Island in July when a great white mauled surfer Ben Linden, 24.

In March, Perth man Peter Kurmann, 33, was diving off Stratham Beach near Busselton when he was killed by a 4m great white.

There were two fatal attacks in WA in October. Bryn Martin, 64, disappeared while swimming at Cottesloe beach and Texan George Thomas Wainwright was mauled while diving from a boat about 500m off Little Armstrong Bay at Rottnest Island.

The first of the recent shark deaths was last September when bodyboarder Kyle Burden was attacked at Bunker Bay, near Dunsborough.

The West Australian

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