Lauren O’Neill, 29, was named in local reports as the victim who was mauled as she swam at dusk in the waters of Elizabeth Bay about a mile from the Sydney Opera House. Neighbors say they heard cries for help just before 8 p.m. and were greeted with a disturbing scene when they arrived at the wharf.
Michael Porter told The Sydney Morning Herald that after hearing the cries, he looked out of his window and saw O’Neill trying to climb a ladder on the wharf while dragging her severely injured leg “which was completely open and full of dark red blood.” Fiona Crago, a vet who also lives in the area, said she rushed to O’Neill’s aid when she heard screams of “Shark attack! Shark attack!”
Crago said the injury was so bad that a bone was broken. “I just focused on what I had to do, which was to stem the blood flow and bandage the leg as best I could with what I had, and put a tourniquet on,” Crago said. Porter separately told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that Crago’s actions “absolutely” saved O’Neill’s life.
O’Neill was rushed to a local hospital is in a stable condition after undergoing surgery, 9News Australia reported Tuesday. Analysis of her wounds confirmed that a bull shark was responsible for the attack. The same species was responsible for the last major shark attack in Sydney Harbor when, in 2009, an Australian Navy diver lost an arm and a leg.