NSW DPI's aerial team captured this image of a 3.5m great white shark off Lighthouse Beach at Ballina.
NSW DPI's aerial team captured this image of a 3.5m great white shark off Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. NSW DPI

Is this the shark that attacked a 17-year-old surfer?

UPDATE, 3.30pm: IMAGES have emerged of what was likely the shark that attacked a 17-year-old surfer this morning.

Cooper Allen was taken to Lismore Base Hospital after he was attacked by a great white shark just before 9am today.

The NSW DPI aerial team posted photos on the SharkSmart Twitter page of a 3.5m great white shark being chased out to sea by surf lifesavers.

Authorities have examined bite marks on Cooper's leg and on his surfboard and are reasonably confident that he was attacked by a great white shark.

Photos of the bites were sent to DPI experts.

Surf life savers chasing away a 3.5m great white shark after an attack at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina.
Surf life savers chasing away a 3.5m great white shark after an attack at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. NSW DPI

 

UPDATE, 2.25pm: POLICE will keep Lighthouse Beach closed for 24 hours as a result of the shark attack which saw 17-year-old surfer Cooper Allen hospitalised.

Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Lindsay said there would be further air patrols and encouraged bathers to avoid the area for the time being.

Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE:

"We are warning oceans users in that area to stay out of the water for 24 hours," he said.

"We have a system in place in this local area where police respond to shark warnings and they work in together with the local council and surf life saving.

"But at the end of the day if somebody doesn't want to get out they don't have to."

Chief Insp Lindsay said the attack was extremely concerning.

"For a young person to be attacked by a shark just out enjoying a surf is a real worry," he said.

"And obviously the start of school holidays we have a lot of people coming to this area.

"(It's) a real significant issue for the local community."

Chief Insp Lindsay said the bite marks on his wound and also his board had been sent to the Department of Primary Industries, and although they couldn't confirm, they had come to believe the attack was from a two to three metre great white shark.

"His two friends were really traumatised and visibly upset by the incident," he said.

"They have been through a real terrible ordeal."

UPDATE 2pm: READERS of The Northern Star have shared their thoughts following the news of this morning's shark attack, during which local 17-year-old Cooper Allen received a bite to the thigh.

On our Facebook page, readers reacted:

John Heaton: "Oh dear, just when you think it is safe to go back out. I hope the guy ends up OK."

Shanayn Sky: "Wow so early in the season. Gonna be a long summer."

Renee Howard: "Far out :( Just before nippers season starts!"

Craig Scott: "Time for a cull."

Judy Smith: "Another summer not going to the beach"

Emily J Rooney: "Very sad news! And will no doubt trigger difficult memories for many in our community."

Juliska Rado: "As sad as this is for the young lad, we know what to expect when we enter their territory ... We are all EARTHLINGS first and we must respect our fellow creatures great and small.... Speedy recovery matey." ;-)

Maddy-Rose Braddon: "Please use the Shark Smart app. This is something we need to be aware of- they are always in the ocean. Where there is fish and food there will be sharks. Be shark smart!"

 

UPDATE 1.30pm: BALLINA'S Craig Zerk, from the Northern Rivers branch of the Surfrider Foundation, says surfing is a "safe past-time".

He was reacting to the news of Monday's attack of a 17-year-old surfer at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach.

He said the threat of sharks was a "risk that surfers are prepared to take."

"But it's probably safer to be in the water surfing than to be on the roads," he said.

He said it was important that the public consider that level of risk and "not react emotionally" to Monday's attack.

However, he said the Surfrider Foundation would like to see a trial of sonar technologies locally.

Cooper Allen, 17, was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, this morning. Photo: Facebook
Cooper Allen, 17, was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, this morning. Photo: Facebook

The local branch of the foundation was formed from the protests by surfers against the installation of the eco shark barrier at Lighthouse Beach.

At the time, the protesters, led by Ballina man Mark Hernage said it was the "wrong technology at the wrong beach".

They turned out to be right as the NSW Department of the Primary Industries ended the three-year trial because of the difficulties the contractor had in getting the barrier installed.

Mr Zerk said sonar technology which recognises the shape of fish, and can identify sharks, then sends an alert, could be trialled locally, along with the SharkShield which is attached to individual surfer's boards.

He said the Surfrider Foundation did not support culling of sharks.

 

UPDATE, 12.30pm: THE 17-year-old boy bitten by a shark at Lighthouse Beach this morning has been named as Cooper Allen.

Cooper is understood to be a keen surfer and member of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club.

News Corp has reported that Cooper, in an interview with The Australian recently, spoke out about shark barriers, saying they were a waste of money.

"We still go out there without the net, at our own choice. I don't think there is any need for it," he said.

Meanwhile, authorities have examined bite marks on Cooper's leg and on his surfboard to confirm that he was attacked by a great white shark.

Photos of the bites were sent to DPI experts.

It has been confirmed that the shark was a great white, believed to be about 2.5m to 3m in length.

 

UPDATE, 12.05pm: BALLINA'S Mayor David Wright wants drone surveillance to start as soon as tomorrow following the shark attack at Lighthouse Beach.

He has already spoken to the Premier and the Director-General of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Mayor Wright last year pushed for the NSW Government to take action on shark mitigation following a spate of attacks, including two - one fatal - around Lighthouse Beach.

Ballina Shire mayor David Wright on scene at Lighthouse Beach where a teenager was attacked by a shark this morning.
Ballina Shire mayor David Wright on scene at Lighthouse Beach where a teenager was attacked by a shark this morning. Marc Stapelberg

Since the failure of the shark barrier trial at the beach, Mayor Wright said drone surveillance could start quickly and was cheaper than aerial surveillance by helicopters.

He said the technology was available also for tagged sharks to be picked up by the drone and a signal sent to warning stations at the beach, with sirens and flashing lights then alerting beach-goers of sharks nearby.

He said this was particularly important since Monday was the first day of the NSW school holidays.

"We have so many people in town - I don't want to lose people," he said.

"The beaches were crowded yesterday.

"We don't want people to come here once but say 'the sharks drove us away'."

 

UPDATE, 11.30am: Ballina resident Nadia Eliott-Burgess said she was about 20 feet away when three surfers started yelling and waving their arms in the air after this morning's shark attack.

"I could tell something had happened," she said.

Ms Eliott-Burgess said she immediately phoned 000.

While she was on the phone, some older surfers came to assist and tourniqueted the wound.

She said she asked the surfer how bad it was and he described it quite a severe bite to the right thigh.

She said he was being treated by lifesavers within a couple of minutes and by 9.20am the ambulance was treating him.

 

UPDATE, 10.30am: NSW Police have confirmed the 17-year-old boy who was attacked by a shark this morning is now in a stable condition.

"The youth made his way out of the water and was assisted by a nurse who was at the beach," NSW Police Media said in a statement issued this morning.

"He sustained a single bite wound to his hip and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a stable condition.

"All beaches within the Ballina area will be closed for the next 24 hours.

"Police will be liaising with NSW Surf Lifesaving, Ballina Shire Council and Department of Primary Industries regarding the incident."

 

UPDATE, 10.15am: THE shark that bit a teenage boy who was surfing off Lighthouse Beach this morning may have been a great white shark.

Richmond LAC Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce said no one saw it, but there had been sightings of a 4m great white further off the shore.

 

"No one sighted the shark at that time," she said.

"He received lacerations and bite marks to his right upper thigh area.

"You share the water with (sharks)," Chief Insp Bruce said. "It could happen any day, anywhere."

The boy was surfing with a friend off the break when the attack happened.

A 17-year-old boy was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, this morning.
A 17-year-old boy was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, this morning. Marc Stapelberg

He was assisted onto shore where an off-duty nurse treated him before paramedics arrived.

He has been taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Chief Insp Bruce said bite marks on the surfboard would be analysed by the DPI to determine the type of shark.

 

UPDATE: 10am: Authorities have advised that all beaches in the Ballina Shire have been closed as a result of this morning's shark attack.

 

UPDATE 9.40am: A TEENAGER has been bitten by a shark on his right thigh.

A NSW Ambulance media spokesperson said he is being treated on scene at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina.

It is understood the boy is 16 or 17 and possibly a member of the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club.

Emergency services were called to the scene just before 9am.

 

INITIAL MONDAY 9.25am: A MAN has been bitten by a shark on the North Coast, it has been confirmed.

Northern NSW Lifeguard Coordinator Scott McCartney said the incident occurred at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, this morning.

Mr McCartney said it was believed the bite was to the man's thigh, however that was not confirmed.


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