Coral Bay shark attack: Boy bitten by bronze whaler at Five Fingers Reef

Sarah Steger and Daryna ZadvirnaThe West Australian
Coral Bay has been rocked by another shark attack.
Camera IconCoral Bay has been rocked by another shark attack. Credit: Stephen Scourfield/The West Australian

A boy is being flown to a Perth hospital after being attacked by a shark while snorkelling near Coral Bay this morning.

Emergency services have swooped on the idyllic holiday town, which is in the middle of its peak tourist season, just after 11am following reports the boy was bitten on the foot.

He is understood to have been snorkelling at the nearby Five Fingers Reef, which is accessible only by 4WD.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has confirmed the boy was attacked by a two-metre bronze whaler.

The Department is investigating the incident, which was reported by a triple-0 caller at 11.10am.

The boy is receiving treatment for his injuries at the Coral Bay Nursing Post and is being flown to Perth Children’s Hospital today. St John Ambulance has confirmed paramedics were attending to only one injured person.

A 2.0m whaler shark was spotted at Five Fingers Reef in Coral Bay minutes after the shark attack was reported.

The animal was seen swimming 75m offshore, according to the Department.

“DPIRD is working with local authorities ... to coordinate responses ... and further information will be provided as it becomes available,” a DPIRD statement said.

People in the area are being urged to take additional caution and adhere to beach closures advised by Local Government Rangers, Parks and Wildlife Service officers or Surf Life Saving WA.

“Use your Sea Sense and stay informed by checking for shark activity on the SharkSmart website, SharkSmart WA app or Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter feed,” the statement said.

It comes three months after a man in his 20s was bitten by a shark while spearfishing in waters near Coral Bay.

Jackson Howson was taking his girlfriend Maddie Naylor-Pratt on her first spearfishing expedition when he fought off what was believed to be a 2.5 metre bull shark.

He recalled the harrowing attack from a hospital bed just days later, saying it wasn't until he looked down to see his “calf hanging everywhere” that he fully understood the danger he faced.

Ms Naylor-Pratt, a paramedic in training, applied first aid with a makeshift-towel tourniquet once the couple managed to board their boat.

The 27-year-old was airlifted to Perth by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for emergency treatment to his calf and finger.

He said at the time he had not been deterred from entering the water again and plans on opening a catamaran tour business out of Broome.

Anyone who sees a shark is asked to report it to Water Police on 9442 8600.

— with Michael Traill

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