Bloody Scene of Shark Attack Was 'Completely Surreal'

Woman suffers serious leg injuries after rare ambush in Australia's Sydney Harbor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2024 3:00 PM CST
Shark Attack Was 'Like Worst Horror Movie You've Ever Seen'
Stock photo of a bull shark.   (Getty Images/izanbar)

A rare shark attack in Sydney Harbor has a victim recovering from serious injuries. The AP reports that the woman was swimming off of Elizabeth Bay on Monday evening when she encountered a suspected bull shark. The woman, identified by Sky News as 29-year-old Lauren O'Neill, was in the water near a private pier around sunset when she was bitten on the right leg, filling the water with blood. O'Neill managed to get to a nearby wharf, which is when resident Michael Porter said he heard a cry for help.

"Completely surreal," he describes the scene he found when he ran outside and discovered O'Neill clinging to a ladder on the side of the pier. "From the knee down was completely open. It was like the worst horror movie you've ever seen." Another local, veterinarian Fiona Crago, rushed to the scene as well, compression bandages and other materials in hand to stem the flow of blood from O'Neill's severely injured leg, reports CNN. "I think Fiona saved her life. She's a complete hero," Porter tells Sky. Other neighbors also came out to help until first responders arrived. O'Neill was rushed to a local hospital, where she's reportedly in stable condition, according to police in New South Wales.

Police noted that their marine unit would be patrolling the area for the time being as a precaution. There hasn't been a shark attack in the harbor since 2009, when an Aussie navy diver had his arm torn off by a bull shark. CNN notes that January and February are prime months for bull sharks in the harbor, where they show up to eat and mate while the waters are warmer. "[Although] this recent attack is a shock for Sydneysiders, the risk of unprovoked shark attacks are incredibly rare," says Sydney Councilwoman Linda Scott. Locals "embrace our beautiful harbor but do so knowing it's a marine ecosystem." (More shark attack stories.)

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