Ballina reeling after second shark attack in six months
MUCH of the Ballina community was still shaken from the tragic loss of local surfer Tadashi Nakahara when news came through of a second shark attack less than six months later and just 800 metres from where the first attack occurred.
Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said February's shark attack was not something the community ever wanted to see repeated.
"It certainly brings back the shock of February and a lot of us are still not getting over that," he said.
Northern NSW Surf Life Saving Coordinator Scott McCartney said some of the surf lifesavers had been sent home for precautionary measures given how close together the two sharks attacks had occurred.
"Some of the people involved in the search and the current surveillance at the moment were involved in the shark attack previously," he said.
"We have sent a few of the people home just for cautionary measures.
"We don't want them to be too involved in two shark attacks this close together.
A shark biologist from the Department of Primary Industries confirmed that a three to four metre great white shark was responsible for yesterday's attack.
A DPI spokeswoman said the expert used photographs from victim Mathew Lee's injury to identify the predator.
NSW Police Media said the shark was spotted by Surf Life Saving NSW immediately following the attack and was tracked by helicopters throughout the day until it disappeared about 4pm.
Le-Ba boardriders president Don Munro praised the men who helped bring the victim back to shore and their quick thinking in tourniqueting the wound with a legrope.
"The two guys that brought him in did a fantastic job, fortunately there was no main artery that had been severed," Mr Munro said.
"I do know that one of them is very traumatised and in shock.
"They can't be praised highly enough."
A medical team from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter administered life-saving blood transfusions at the scene before Mr Lee was airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital for surgery.
Beaches across Ballina Shire were closed yesterday but perfect conditions were keeping more than 70 surfers in the water at Lennox Point, with conditions predicted to get even better today and remain excellent for the next six days.