Surfers lucky to be alive after great white shark attacks

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Two surfers are lucky to be alive after being attacked Monday by a shark — likely a 13-foot great white — in Western Australia, according to reports.

Alejandro Travaglini, 37, was mauled just before 8 a.m. at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown in a frightening incident that put the nearby Margaret River Pro surfing competition temporarily on hold, according to ABC News Australia.

After being bitten on the lower leg, Travaglini managed to bodysurf to shore, where his friends used the rope from his surfboard as a tourniquet to control the bleeding.

He was airlifted to the hospital for surgery.

A 13-foot-long great white was later spotted in the waters from a helicopter.

Brett Newland said there were about five surfers in the water when “a big shark popped up in the water amongst them.”

“It swam under a couple of guys and came around and bit a third person,” he said. “It was a large shark and from the way it was behaving, it would have been a white pointer.

“All the other surfers swam to him, helped him get away from his board and leg rope and helped him get on a wave, and luckily [he] caught a wave onto the reef.”

The second attack occurred about 6 1/2 hours later a little more than a mile away at Lefthanders beach.

“[It was] just heading straight for me, beelining straight at me … and just nailed the board,” said Justin Longrass, who is from Denmark. “I knew straight away, don’t kick your legs, just swim.”

Longrass, 41, said he didn’t realize Lefthanders was closed after a whale carcass washed up. Beachgoers were warned that the decomposing carcass could attract sharks closer to shore.

He said he was “very lucky” to have suffered only minor leg injuries.

The Margaret River Pro in Gracetown eventually got under way with “enhanced safety measures” after being postponed for an hour.

“We’ve stepped up the presence of our jet-ski team, [our] water safety team,” organizers said. “Typically we have three or four in the water dedicated to surfer safety and also to our shark safety protocol and we’ve stepped that up now, we’ve actually got seven in the line-up and we’ve increased our drone presence to two.

“Surfer safety is the foremost of our minds.”

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