January 26, 2021

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‘Lot of blood in the water’: Kayakers helped shark attack victim to safety

2 min read
<p>A man has been rushed to hospital with leg injuries after a suspected bull shark attack in Perth's Swan River this morning.</p>

Two kayakers have recounted how they helped rescue a swimmer attacked by a shark at a popular Perth swimming spot.

The incident happened at Blackwall Reach in the Swan River in Bicton about 8am today.

The victim, Cameron Wrathall, was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital by ambulance with a 30cm bite to his leg. He is undergoing surgery and is in a critical but stable condition.

Authorities believe Mr Wrathall may have been bitten by a bull shark, which are known to be common in the Swan River.

He was swimming with a friend when the attack took place.

As the friend helped Mr Wrathall to shore, two kayakers approached to help.

"We paddled straight over and helped (Mr Wrathall) get out of the water," one said.

"Another guy arrived with a paddleboard, used that to float him around to get him to an ambulance."

The group used the stand-up paddleboard as a makeshift stretcher to carry Mr Wrathall to safety.

"There was a fair bit of blood in the water and the bite was quite a significant one," the second kayaker said.

Both said shark sightings in the river were extremely rare, though they had heard warnings in the past.

Blackwall Reach is a popular spot for swimmers, rock-climbers and paddle-boarders.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has described today's shark attack in the Swan River as "a very, very surprising event".

Mr McGowan said it was the first time anyone had been attacked by a shark in the Swan River in 50 years.

The last fatal attack was nearly a century ago in 1923.

Man attacked by shark at Swan River in Perth

Mr McGowan said Mr Wrathall had received a "serious" bite and was rescued by kayakers.

"We all hope and wish for the very best for the man involved and hope he recovers fully," he said.

The premier noted that tagging programs and other precautions undertaken off the WA coast are not in place in the river, as bull shark attacks are so rare.

"Fisheries has cleared the water and are on the lookout in the area but sharks move around. It's very difficult to predict or prevent," he said.

"Many people take precautions, but there is always a risk – however slight."


Last month a great white shark was tagged off the coast of Western Australia, recorded as the second-biggest in the state's history.

Cottesloe Beach was shut twice in one day after the December 11 discovery, with drumlines deployed to catch and tag the monster shark that was lurking off the WA coastline.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/man-attacked-by-shark-in-perth/904bbd76-599d-4a90-93eb-b63e59bcb536

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