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NSW: Shark attacks man at Bondi.

13 Feb 2009 2:56 AM

SYDNEY, Feb 12 AAP - A man attacked by a shark at Bondi is the first victim of a shark attack at the beach in 80 years.

The 33-year-old Dover Heights man was surfing at the southern end of the beach about 7.30pm (AEDT) on Thursday when he felt something bite him on the arm, police say.

After calling for help, the man was assisted to shore by a number of other surfers.

He sustained severe injuries to his left arm and was taken to St Vincent's Hospital.

A police spokeswoman said the man was fortunate to receive assistance from a number of off-duty doctors who were on the beach at the time he was bitten, which helped stem massive bleeding.

Fairfax Media said no shark attacks had been reported at Bondi since 1929.

In that year, Colin Stewart, 14, was killed by a shark at Bondi, and four weeks later there was a fatal attack on John Gibson, 39, the son of a Melbourne department store owner.

After Thursday night's incident, lifeguards sounded the shark alarm and ordered everyone from the water.

James McIntosh, 29, who works for a surf magazine, told Fairfax he was paddling out to sea when he realised there had been a shark attack.

He returned to shore and tied a leg rope around the victim's arm as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

"I just kept pulling that leg rope as hard as I could. As soon as we put the tourniquet on there wasn't any bleeding," he said.

Mr McIntosh added the man feared he was not "going to make it".

"He said "Tell my wife or girlfriend Lisa, that I love her."

Off-duty doctors on the beach at the time of the attack also assisted the victim.

A French tourist, Mikael Thomas, 21, said the man's injuries were severe.

"We could see all of his bones cut like with a big knife. It was very clear. We could see all in to his hand," he said.

Nobody was able to describe the size or type of shark involved.

Thursday night's attack came just 36 hours after an experienced navy diver was mauled by a shark off Woolloomooloo.

The diver lost a hand and may lose part of his leg as a result.