The Queensland victim, whose name was not released, succumbed after two surfers nearby rushed to him and “fought the shark off him,” an official on the scene told local 9 News. (Check out the video above.)
The shark circled the rescuers and rammed one’s surfboard. They pulled the victim to shore and applied first aid to his severely injured left leg. The man died at the scene, police said in a statement.
“It was nothing short of heroic to get him to the beach,” paramedic Terry Savage told ABC. “Unfortunately, there was nothing else we could do.”
One of the surfers who braved the shark said he was a “little bit” shaken. “It was a big shark,” he told 9 News.
Officials used jet skis, a boat and a helicopter to clear the area of other surfers and swimmers, and quickly located the shark. But creature was not easily frightened, and even appeared at one point to charge a jet ski. It eventually left the vicinity.
There were no plans to hunt the shark because officials don’t believe they could identify the right one, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
Salt Beach near Kingscliff and other area beaches in New South Wales were closed after the attack.
It was the third fatal shark attack off Australia this year. But attacks in that area are unusual.
“It’s a bit of a shock for everyone at the moment,” James Owen, a member of the Salt Surf Life Saving Club, told the Herald. “There’s a very somber mood here. I don’t know of a previous fatal shark incident in this area. For whatever reason, this shark decided to have a bite.”