Australian authorities believe that an injured 10-year-old girl brought to Lennox Head Tuesday afternoon may not have been attacked by a shark, after all, but may have been bitten on the thumb by a mackerel.
A Lismore Base Hospital spokeswoman told the the Australian Associated Press that the unidentified girl suffered "very minor injuries" on her thumb
. The wire service said authorities are struggling to determine what bit the girl but are backing off the initial shark report.
"They don't know if that's actually correct," the hospital spokeswoman told the AAP of the shark attack theory.
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The Sunshine Coast Daily reported
that Ben Molloy wrapped the bloody hand of the girl, who he heard screaming as she came out of the water about 5 p.m. Tuesday. Before the incident, the girl was surfing with her young brother, wrote the newspaper.
"(It was) a pretty gnarly cut – bad, but not too bad," Molloy told the Sunshine Coast Daily. "The other kids paddled in pretty quick smart."
Greg Powell, NSW Ambulance Service Brunswick Valley's zone inspector, told the newspaper that the said the girl suffered numerous lacerations to her thumb.
"A 10-year-old girl was surfing with her brother when she felt a pain in her left hand and noticed that it was bleeding," Powell said to the Sunshine Coast Daily. "She was brought to shore by her younger brother. Bystanders then rendered first aid and comforted the girl until paramedics arrived. She was definitely bitten by a fish, but at this stage we can't confirm if it was a shark."
Lennox Head girls' surfriders spokeswoman Georgia Laddin told Australia's Daily Telegraph
that the girl had not suffered shark injuries.
"It was a mackerel," Laddin told The Telegraph. "She's been bitten by a fish. She's fine, she's OK. She's one of the local girls who surfs down there."
Jimmy Keogh, the Far North Coast Surf Life Saving duty officer, told the Daily Telegraph that authorities are examining the incident.
"We have a duty officer on scene and are trying to determine what has happened, our investigations are continuing," Keogh said. "The big conditions had abated during the day. We also haven't seen too much bait fish or increased sightings of sharks."
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