A surfer mauled by a shark Monday off southwestern Australia managed to swim to shore despite serious injuries to both of his legs, an official and a witness say. Alejandro Travaglini was surfing at Gracetown around 8am when he was attacked, St. John Ambulance spokesman Dennis Bertoldo says. The Argentinian-born 37-year-old was treated on the beach by paramedics before he was flown 160 miles by helicopter to a hospital in the city of Perth. Friends say Travaglini fought off the shark before it returned and dragged him underwater, the West Australian reports. He punched it before making his way to shore, where his friends used the rope from his board as a tourniquet until help arrived.
The hospital described the victim's condition as stable. The attack prompted the World Surf League to postpone the nearby Margaret River Pro international surfing contest, where Traviglini is a member of a work crew, for about an hour while shark-spotting drones were deployed, the AP reports. Surf photographer Peter Jovic watched the attack from the beach and likened it to the live broadcast of a shark attack in South Africa in 2015. "If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment ... it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board," he said. Nine News reports a 41-year-old surfer sustained a large gash to his right thigh from a shark later Monday at a nearby beach. (A shark in Hawaii bumped a man off his paddleboard before attacking.)