Tags: brett connellan | surfer | bit | shark | tourniquet

Brett Connellan, Pro Surfer Bit by Shark, Saved by Tourniquet

Image: Brett Connellan, Pro Surfer Bit by Shark, Saved by Tourniquet
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By    |   Thursday, 31 Mar 2016 12:40 PM

Professional surfer Brett Connellan was mauled by a shark off the Australian east coast and his life was saved when a tourniquet was applied to his upper thigh by beachgoers before paramedics arrived.

Police said Connellan was flown by helicopter to a Sydney's St. George Hospital in serious condition after he was attacked on Wednesday evening 75 miles to the south off a beach near Kiama, reported The Associated Press.

The 22-year-old surfer sustained injuries to a thigh and a hand in the attack off Bombo Beach and was helped 100 yards to shore by a fellow surfer.

Ambulance Service spokesman Terry Morrow said beachgoers saved Connellan's life by applying a tourniquet to his upper thigh before paramedics reached the scene.

Connellan did not see the shark. Experts are examining his wounds to determine the shark's size and species, said the AP.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Connellan had three-quarters of his thigh ripped off, as well as hand injuries as he fought the shark, with his screams alerting fellow surfers and bystanders.

He was helped ashore by friend Joel Trist with two off-duty nurses on the beach using a surfboard leg rope as a tourniquet around his bloody thigh credited with helping to save his life.

Fellow surfer Trist said he was 50 yards away when he heard a "terrible scream" and saw the shark thrashing violently in the water.

"I saw the shark thrashing around at that stage but I couldn't comprehend at that time what was happening and again, just acting on instinct, I thought, well, what else could it be at that moment?," he told reporters.

"I guess the adrenaline kicked in and I paddled as hard as I could towards him. Luckily by that stage the shark had gone away from where he was.

"I paddled up to him, and obviously I knew what had happened, and I said to him: 'What's it like?' And he said: 'It's not good.' And at that point, I knew something was horribly wrong."

Trist dragged Connellan onto his board and managed to get him to the shore.

"He had lost a large proportion of his left thigh, and the quad muscle was torn away right down to the bone," Morrow from Ambulance NSW said.

"He could have bled to death before we arrived on scene. He was very lucky the members of the public were there and acted as they did. They saved his life, to tell you the truth."

Shark expert Michael Brown from Surf Watch Australia said the culprit was likely either a great white or bronze whaler.

A spate of attacks in New South Wales state last year led authorities to implement a range of shark-prevention measures to reduce encounters.

Measures include the testing of aerial drones to track sharks' movements, although the state government has ruled out culling the animals.

There were 14 attacks in New South Wales last year – including the death of a Japanese surfer – compared to three in 2014, according to data compiled by Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

Experts say attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular and bait fish move closer to shore, but fatalities remain rare.

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Professional surfer Brett Connellan was mauled by a shark off the Australian east coast and his life was saved when a tourniquet was applied to his upper thigh by beachgoers before paramedics arrived.
brett connellan, surfer, bit, shark, tourniquet
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2016-40-31
Thursday, 31 Mar 2016 12:40 PM
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