Shark bites surfer’s fingers off in Australia

Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-28 16:16:23-05

PORT MACQUARIE, Australia (CBS News) -- A shark ripped off part of a man's hand while he was surfing at a beach near the town of Port Macquarie, about 175 miles north of north of Sydney, on Friday.

The 29-year-old man was surfing when the shark attacked him, RTV reported.

A paramedic on the scene said the man suffered bites to his leg, and lost two fingers on his left hand.

"He was just out there. There was a heap of dolphins like there has been around here, swimming around him. And all of a sudden, the shark has just come up and took about three chunks out of him. And then he just got his board, and actually put the nose of his board into the bull shark's head," said witness, Adam Clarke.

Local media said the victim's friends used their surfboard leg ropes as a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.

"All his friends did a marvelous job. His fellow surfers and his friends here on the beach, they really did save his life until we got here. They did well," said paramedic, Ian Spencer.

Paramedics treated him on the scene before carrying him to a waiting helicopter.

Local media reports said the shark attacked the man three times.

The man was airlifted to the John Hunter hospital in the city of Newcastle, where he is said to be in stable condition.