Sydney Harbour shark attack leaves woman severely injured

Aerial view of Sydney Harbour at sunset
Image caption,Shark attacks in Sydney Harbour are rare

A woman has suffered severe injuries after she was attacked by a shark during a sunset swim in Australia.

The victim was bitten on the leg near a private wharf in Sydney Harbour on Monday evening.

Local residents rushed to the scene and administered first aid after hearing her yell for help.

The woman, aged in her 20s, was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Shark biologists are assessing her injuries to determine what kind of shark is responsible.

Michael Porter, who is the woman’s neighbour, told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) he heard a “soft yell” for help outside his window around 20:00 local time (09:00 GMT).

He looked outside to see her hanging on to a ladder on the wharf in suburb Elizabeth Bay.

“She was trying to climb in and behind her was her leg, which was completely open and full of dark red blood behind her,” Mr Porter said.

Another local described how her wife, who is a vet, applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.

“She basically bandaged it up. The bone’s broken and it’s pretty hectic actually,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

One witness told the SMH she regularly sees sharks swimming under the jetty.

“I always thought it was a matter of time,” she said.

Sydney Harbour is a well-known habitat for bull sharks, but attacks in the area are rare. Most famously, former navy diver Paul de Gelder was left without an arm and a leg after he was attacked by a bull shark during a counter-terrorism exercise in Sydney Harbour in 2009.

Australia has more shark attacks than any other country except the US, but fatal attacks are uncommon.

There were 14 shark attacks in 2023, according to the Australian Shark-Incident Database, four of them lethal.

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