Shark attacks surfer in Western Australia

File Organisers confirmed the incident off the coast of Gracetown 260km south of Perth

File Organisers confirmed the incident off the coast of Gracetown 260km south of Perth

A man suffered leg injuries Monday after he was attacked by a shark off Australia's southwestern coast, forcing authorities to shut down a nearby global surfing competition.

Friends used the rope from the victim's board and gave him first aid until emergency crews arrived from Margaret River within six minutes, a St John Ambulance spokesman told AAP.

The man is now being taken to Royal Perth Hospital by helicopter.

A member of the public reported an unknown species of shark off Cobblestones just moments after the attack, and the Surf Life Saving Westpac helicopter reported a four-metre shark just after 10am near the Lefthanders surf spot.

A surfer was killed by a shark at Gracetown in 2013. "There was a lot more thrashing around".

[I] saw the guy who had been attacked get separated from the [surf] board and then start to paddle for an inside wave, which he managed to body surf all the way in. "I can't say how he is".

He said that he had seen something in the water and a splash before he raced back to shore.

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"It is possible the decomposing carcass will continue to act as an attractant that could lead to sharks coming close in to shore along this stretch of coast", a statement said.

The attack prompted the World Surf League (WSL) to temporarily postpone the nearby Margaret River Pro surfing contest, with lifeguards having spotted a 13-foot-long shark just off a nearby beach two hours later.

Surfers had been in action this morning in the competition before the attack.

Beach closures are in place around Gracetown including North Point, Big Rock and Left Handers and fisheries officers are monitoring the area.

Event organisers put the competition on hold but have not said whether the victim was taking part in the competition.

"We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", the tweet said.

"A shark popped up and pretty much ended up knocking a surfer from his board", surf photographer Peter Jovic, who witnessed the attack, told ABC.

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