Man-eating shark attacks tourist

Evans Head man Mick McGilvray said the shark that attacked the tourist was most likely a bronze whaler or a bull shark.
Evans Head man Mick McGilvray said the shark that attacked the tourist was most likely a bronze whaler or a bull shark.

GOLD Coast surfer Nigel Hughes escaped from a shark attack in known Great White territory near Evans Head with nothing but an injured big toe.

Mr Hughes was bitten by the shark while surfing at Coffee Rock, north of Evans Head, at 7am on Sunday.

The 39-year-old deputy principal of Palm Beach-Currumbin State High School was holidaying in Evans Head with friends and decided to head out with them for an early morning surf.

Just as he was pushing himself up to stand on his board he felt the shark strike.

“I looked back to see if my foot was there,” said Mr Hughes, speaking from the Lismore Base Hospital where he was waiting last night to have surgery on his foot.

The shark sliced through Mr Hughes’ big toe which was left partly hanging from his foot.

After the attack he was able to catch a wave in to the beach.

His friends then helped him walk 200m to a car.

Mr Hughes said he could not tell exactly how much blood he was losing because his friends tightly wrapped his foot in a towel before taking him to hospital.

As he waited for surgery last night he remained remarkably calm for someone who had just been bitten by a shark.

He even said the attack would make the holiday ‘memorable’, and that he would not hesitate to hit the waves again in the future.

“I’ll definitely be getting back in the water,” he said.

Mr Hughes said he did not see the shark so he was not willing to speculate about what type it might have been.

Evans Head man Mick McGilvray said the shark was most likely a bronze whaler or a bull shark.

Both are known man-eaters, but Mr McGilvray said the shark that bit Mr Hughes would have been no bigger than two metres.

Mr McGilvray said the spot where Mr Hughes was surfing had murky water which sharks loved.

“It’s definitely a sharky area,” he said.

Mr McGilvray, who operates a chartered fishing boat, said between five and 10 sharks were caught on that stretch of beach between Evans Head and Broadwater each year.

He said he caught two Great White sharks nearby three years ago.

Another tourist lost his leg to a shark bite while swimming at Evans Head in the late 1980s.

"Mr Hughes was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time," Mr McGilvray said.


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