Ben Gerring, a 29-year-old surfer, was critically injured after a shark bit off his leg on Tuesday at Falcon Beach, a suburb south of Perth, Australia.
The shark attack took place not long after Surf Life Saving WA – a non-profit volunteer organization – posted on Twitter that a great white shark has been spotted in the area. Witnesses report that the crowd panicked after Gerring’s surfboard was snapped into two.
Reports also say that Gerring was on the beach with a group of other surfers when the shark destroyed his board and severed his right leg above the knee. Gerring’s fellow surfers took him to the shore after he lost his consciousness during the shark attack.
"I turned and looked back and I actually saw thrashing around him and I heard him yelling for help. His leg was gone ... one of the guys started CPR straight away. We did everything we could,” said Sheldon Spencer, a friend of Gerring.
The injured surfer is currently being treated at the Royal Perth Hospital. He is said to be in critical condition.
The Department of Fisheries in Western Australia described the shark that attacked Gerring as a serious threat to public safety. Due to the nature of Gerring’s injuries and the location of the attack, the department believes that the animal is likely a great white shark with a length of three meters or 9 feet and 10 inches.
The Department of Fisheries also announced that they will try to set shark traps on Wednesday to capture the beast and prevent further shark attacks.
Experts explain that cases of shark attacks are increasing due to the increasing popularity of water sports and the movement of bait fish closer to the shore. Incidents of recent shark attacks in Australia include a Japanese surfer killed by a shark off the east coast and a surfer who lost his leg during a shark attack in the south of Sydney in March.