Surfer injured by shark at Ballina, Australia

BALLINA , Australia, Sept. 26 (UPI) — A surfer survived a shark attack Monday morning at Ballina beach in New South Wales, Australia.

Cooper Allen, 17, of Ballina, was bitten on the upper thigh and suffered severe lacerations, although “apparently the prime attack was on the board, so it took the brunt,” Craig Nolan of Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Lifesaving said.

“He’s all good. He’ll be fine,” Ned Allen, the victim’s father, said.

A great white shark, about 13 feet long, was spotted in the area after the incident and chased away from the beach by lifeguards on jet skis, and the beach was closed for 24 hours. It was the fourth serious shark attack along the six-tenths-of-a-mile beach in the past two years. A trial attempt to install 2,300 feet of eco-friendly “shark net” in the water to keep sharks away from the beach was cancelled because of rough water conditions and maintenance issues.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said shark movements are now observed at the beach using drone technology, adding, “We need to continue to do exactly what we’re doing and that is a whole range of technologies we are trialing. There is already drone technology that is working … and we’ll look to get that there which will provide increased surveillance. We can’t guarantee, clearly, at any beach, that people will be safe. But, we’ll do everything we can to ensure that we do that.”

When Japanese tourist Tadashi Nakahara, 41, died after losing both his legs in a shark attack while surfing at the same beach in February, Allen was interviewed by a television station, and expressed disdain for the shark nets. He called the barrier a waste of money, commenting that surfers risked shark attacks whenever they went in the water.

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