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Shark attacks off Sydney, Australia, yet another source of worry

February 12, 2009 |  2:11 pm

Bruce Grimes suffered injuries to his hand and arm in an attack by a bull shark late last spring off Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

As if Australians don't have enough worries with the deadly wildfires in one part of the country and flooding in another.

Now they're enduring shark attacks in unlikely places.

The incident today involving a surfer at Bondi Beach was the first reported attack at the iconic tourism and surfing paradise since 1929, and it occurred less than two days after another attack in nearby Sydney Harbor.

Neither attack was fatal. The surfer, identified by the Sydney Morning Herald only as Glen, was helped ashore with his left hand dangling.

He was bitten at dusk and remains hospitalized in serious condition. He was helped to shore by another surfer, James McIntosh, who used his board leash as a tourniquet to slow the bleeding.

McIntosh told the Morning Herald: "He was in a fair bit of a mess. He said, 'Tell my wife or girlfriend, Lisa, that I love her.' Then he said, 'She's pregnant.' He thought his number was up, I guess."

On Wednesday, what is believed to be a bull shark attacked a navy diver within in Sydney Harbor. The diver lost his right hand and also remains hospitalized.

If these attacks were by bull sharks, it's not good news as they can become persistently aggressive and perilous. It brings to mind three separate attacks by bull sharks, two of them fatal, within a short period late last spring off Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

The survivor, Bruce Grimes, was likewise bitten on the arm and hand, but he was fortunate to have suffered only deep lacerations (see photo). Hopefully, as was eventually the case in Mexico, the situation in Sydney will calm down and there will be no "Jaws"-like scare.

-- Pete Thomas

A surfer catches a wave at Bondi Beach, where the first reported shark attack in 80 years occurred this week.

Photos, from top: Bruce Grimes suffered injuries to his hand and arm in an attack by a bull shark late last spring off Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Credit: Pete Thomas /Los Angeles Times. A surfer catches a wave at Bondi Beach, where the first reported shark attack in 80 years occurred this week. Credit: Associated Press

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