Great White Shark Mauls Teen Surfer in Morning Attack

Multiple beaches north of the Australian city of Sydney had to be closed on Wednesday after a young surfer was bitten by a shark.

The attack, which took place on Wednesday morning local time, left the 14-year-old surfer with injuries to his lower right forearm. Avoca and North Avoca beaches were closed as a result.

A drone operator was deployed to the area to search the waters for any sign of the shark responsible.

Great white shark
A stock photo shows a great white shark seen swimming off the island of Guadalupe in Mexican waters of the Pacific Ocean. Great whites are the world's largest known predatory fish. ShaneMyersPhoto/Getty

A New South Wales Department of Primary Industries spokesperson told Newsweek on Thursday: "NSW Department of Primary Industries shark biologists have determined a White Shark was likely responsible for a shark bite on a surfer at North Avoca.

"It's reported the 14-year-old boy was surfing early yesterday morning when the bite occurred. The teenager suffered lacerations to his hand and was transported to [the] hospital where he received stitches in one hand. He has since been released.

"Beachgoers are advised to follow the NSW SharkSmart Twitter feed or download the SharkSmart app for the latest information. "

Australia is one of the most common places in the world for shark attacks to occur. In 2021, 12 unprovoked shark bites were reported in the country, making it second only to the U.S. which reported 47, according to the Florida Museum's International Shark Attack File. There were 73 unconfirmed shark bites worldwide that year.

However, the number of fatal bites in Australia—three—was higher than the one single case reported in the U.S. that year.

Within Australia, the New South Wales region—which includes the city of Sydney—saw six of the country's 12 unprovoked shark incidents in 2021. Western Australia saw four bites, while single incidents occurred in Queensland and Victoria.

The International Shark Attack File also states that according to recent trends, surfers and people participating in board sports accounted for the most incidents, with 51 percent of total cases.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Primary Industries said that based on photographs of the teenager's injuries, the bite marks are "indicative of a white shark," The Guardian reported.

"Our thoughts are with the young surfer who sustained a wound to his right lower forearm," local governing body the Central Coast Council wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. "We ask that all community members avoid Avoca and North Avoca beaches at this time until DPI and Council can investigate this incident further."

The white shark, also known as the great white shark, is the world's largest known predatory fish and has been credited with more fatal attacks on humans than any other species of shark. This is mainly due to its size, power, and feeding behavior according to the International Shark Attack File.

The sharks can be found in increasing numbers along both the east and west coasts of the U.S.

Update, 9/1/22, 12:20 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include the bite victim's age and a statement from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.