Man bitten by shark while surfing south of Forster

This is what was left of the surfer’s board. Photo: Supplied A surfer who was bitten by a shark gives the thumbs up as he is wheeled into John Hunter Hospital. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers
Nanjing Night Net

The man was in high spirits following his ordeal at Seven Mile Beach. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

A surfer has been bitten by a great white shark and his surfboard snapped in two at a beach south of Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast.

But Colin Rowland, who suffered deep bite marks to his foot and arm, was still able to give the thumbs up as he was wheeled into hospital following the incident at Seven Mile Beach at Booti Point on Thursday morning.

“I’m a bit out of it at the moment, but I’m alive, that’s the main thing,” the 62-year-old said, shortly after landing at John Hunter Hospital.

Police and paramedics were called to Seven Mile Beach, in the Booti Booti National Park, about 9.20am to reports that a man had been attacked by a shark.

Mr Rowland, who is a local surfer, suffered deep bite wounds to his arm and foot, but police said he was able to swim to shore to raise the alarm.

The shark, which the NSW Department of Primary Industries later confirmed was a great white, also bit a large chunk out of Mr Rowland’s surfboard, which was also snapped in half.

Paramedics treated Mr Rowland at the beach and, due to the isolation of the area, drove him to a nearby bowling club where he was transferred to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter and flown to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition.

Mr Rowland appeared to be in high spirits when he arrived, laughing with the medical crew, and gave the thumbs up as he was wheeled into the building on a stretcher.

Surf Life Saving NSW said all beaches in the Booti Booti and Pacific Palms area had been closed for at least 24 hours.

“As a result of this morning’s incident Seven Mile Beach, Elizabeth, Boomerang, and Blueys Beach have all been closed,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Warnings signs have been erected by National Parks and Wildlife personnel and Lifeguards while the public are strongly urged to avoid swimming in the area today.

“A decision on when to reopen the beaches will be made in consultation with stakeholders including Mid Coast Council, Police, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Primary Industries tomorrow.”

Following the attack, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said he had instructed Fisheries staff to deploy five “smart” drumlines at beaches around Forster, including along the Booti Booti National Park. Smart drum lines use GPS technology to alert Department of Primary Industries scientists when a shark is caught.

“These will be in place by tomorrow,” Mr Blair said.

“DPI Shark specialists are examining surf board damage to help estimate the size of the shark.

“As we head into the summer period, we understand the risk to communities is higher. Incidents like this one impact the whole community and we will continue to test and implement a range of technologies to protect beachgoers.” DPI is assisting @slsnsw, @nswpolice & emergency services in responding to a shark bite off Booti Booti National Park, Forster this morning.— NSW DPI (@nswdpi) November 30, 2016*/]]>

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