An unknown hero has dragged a shark attack victim from the ocean at a remote beach in the Gascoyne.
The man, known only as Camel, reportedly grabbed the 34-year-old victim and pulled him on to his surfboard after the shark struck.
"He had a big board and just dragged him in," local camp ground manager Jim Caldwell said. "He did really well."
Camel is apparently a well-known surfer at Red Bluff, a remote stretch of coast near Quobba Station about 160km north of Carnarvon.
Beachgoers rushed to the victim's aid, wrapping him in towels and putting him into the back of a borrowed car, Mr Caldwell said.
The man 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.
He was in a stable condition last night and was set to be flown to Perth overnight for further treatment.
"We were keeping him talking, that was the main thing, to keep him coherent," Mr Caldwell, who sat holding the man in the back seat during the drive, said.
"It was all about keeping the pressure on, the blood loss was our biggest concern."
He said that despite the injuries, the shark victim 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.