Shark Attack Victim's Arm Likely Saved by Bystanders' Makeshift Tourniquet

Bystanders likely saved the arm of a surfer who was bitten by a shark on Monday, after they made a makeshift tourniquet using a surfboard leg rope.

Victim Joe Hoffman, reportedly in his 20s, was surfing at Crescent Head in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, when a shark attacked him at around 4:30 p.m. local time, NSW police said in a statement on Monday.

The surfer suffered severe injuries to his right arm, and the shark took a huge chunk out of his surfboard. He was taken to the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle following the attack.

The NSW Department of Industry said it believed a roughly 3 meter (9.8 foot) shark was behind the attack, Sky News Australia reported, and that it was most likely of the great white species.

The man benefited from the help of bystanders, including doctors and nurses who happened to be on the beach at the time.

Inspector Martin Burke, a Mid North Coast police officer, told Australia's ABC News the medical staff put together a tourniquet using a surfboard rope.

He praised the bystanders for their administration of first aid and for "potentially saving his arm."

Burke said: "For a terrible situation, it was almost the perfect storm in terms of the expertise on the ground."

Inspector Burke said he was confident the man's arm would be saved.

The surfer's father, Bill Hoffman, told Sunshine Coast News he "can't believe how lucky [Joe] was," noting that medical staff were on the beach "as if waiting for him."

NSW ambulance inspector Andrew Beverley told the outlet the bystanders delivered "crucial initial first-aid."

He said: "It might be cold at the moment but it's important to always be aware of your surroundings in the water, even in winter."

St John's College, a secondary school in Nambour, Queensland, which Hoffman once attended, said in a Facebook post: "On Behalf of Chris Gold our Principal we send our thoughts and prayers to Joe and his family and wish him a speedy recovery."

NSW Police said officers would liaise with the Department of Primary Industry to investigate the incident. Crescent Head and Killick beaches were closed. On Tuesday, beaches in the vicinity of Crescent Head were being monitored by drones.

There have been a number of reports of shark bites from Australia so far this year, including a young boy who was left needing treatment after being bitten on the foot.

Shark and surfboard
A stock image of a great white shark, left, and Hoffman's damaged surfboard following Monday's attack, right. Hoffman received first aid on the beach. RamonCarretero / The Crescent Head Santa Surf./Getty / The Crescent Head Santa Surf.