The nightmare of a child being attacked by a shark in Western Australia became a reality on Saturday when an 11-year-old boy was mauled while snorkelling off the north coast.
The incident occurred about 3pm in the waters off Kurrajong Campground at Cape Range National Park in the Shire of Exmouth.
St John WA crews treated the boy on the beach after he was brought back to shore in a boat.
He was taken to Exmouth Hospital to be assessed.
The extent of his injuries are unknown, but they are not believed to be life-threatening.
He was transported to Perth Children’s Hospital via the Royal Flying Doctor Service on Saturday night.
An RFDS plane left Perth at about 5pm, with the flight arriving in Exmouth at about 6.45pm.
The boy’s injuries were assessed on arrival and a decision was made to take him to Perth for further treatment.
Swimmers in the Cape Range National Park area were urged to take additional caution and beaches were closed from Pilgramunna north to Bloodwood Creek in Cape Range National Park.
At 3.15pm on Saturday, Surf Life Saving WA issued a report of an unknown species of shark being spotted near Exmouth, just one metre offshore.
Last Saturday the Sharksmart website reported two whale carcasses not far from the campground, but a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development investigation confirmed no whale carcasses had been found. It is not yet known what species of shark was responsible for the latest attack.
From mid-March to August every year, tourists flock to the area to swim with whale sharks.
The attack comes after pro surfer Max Marsden was bitten on the right arm by a 1.5m bronze whaler off Geraldton last Sunday. He was admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital following the attack where he underwent two operations, which included the removal of teeth fragments from his arm.
The surfer punched the shark repeatedly in the head to escape and had the help of a friend to get back to shore.
When they reached land, the pair had to walk a couple of kilometres back to their car before driving through rough terrain to meet an ambulance.
In February, 16-year-old Stella Berry was fatally attacked by a shark while swimming with friends in the river in North Fremantle.
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