Australia

Australian surfer punches shark in 'Mick Fanning replay'

Shark warning signs are seen posted on the beach in the northern New South Wales city of Newcastle on January 17, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Beaches where sharks have been sighted are often temporarily closed to the public

An Australian surfer has punched a shark which attacked him off the north coast of New South Wales, say police.

Craig Ison, 52, suffered serious leg and arm injuries during the attack off Evans Head early on Friday.

Geoff Hill, a friend of Mr Ison who saw the incident, told local media it was "like watching a Mick Fanning replay".

Earlier this month, Australian three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning escaped unharmed after punching a shark during a competition in South Africa.

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Media captionSurfer Mick Fanning: "I punched the shark in the back"

He managed to scramble on board a jet-ski during the major surfing event in Jeffreys Bay, that was being broadcast live.

'There's a shark'

Mr Ison made it back to shore where a passerby applied a tourniquet to his leg, said the police statement. He remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Mr Hill told the Northern Star newspaper: "We were just paddling out this morning and Craig was 20m ahead of me."

"But it grabbed him as he turned around," he said, saying Mr Ison was pulled under the water.

"I paddled to him but by then he was on his board and paddling back.

"It was like watching a Mick Fanning replay."

Main Beach, Shark Bay and Chinamans Beach in the area have since been closed.

The manager of the Riverfront Kiosk in Evans Head, Bart Easdown, told ABC TV that locals had been talking about putting drones in the air to spot sharks.

"Is is very confronting ... but everyone is aware there are sharks in the water. I don't want to see any loss of life whether it is people or sharks," he said.

Earlier this month bodyboarder Matt Lee, 32, underwent surgery after being bitten on both legs by a great white shark off nearby Ballina.

In February, 41-year-old Japanese tourist Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a shark at Shelly Beach in Ballina.

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