A chilling photo taken moments before a surfer was attacked by a ‘monster’ shark has emerged.
A tiny ripple in the water was the only warning Tony Begg had before he was attacked by a 4m long great white shark on Friday morning off Lighthouse Beach near Port Macquarie, New South Wales.
The 44-year-old has been left with life-changing injuries and remains in a critical but stable condition at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital.
The father-of-two has lost one leg after the horror attack, and has undergone a second surgery to try and save his other leg as his family broke their silence on Saturday.
The chilling snap, obtained by 9News, was taken by a photographer on the beach and shows Mr Begg just metres away from the shark, unaware that his life was about to change forever.
His brother-in-law, Chris Lenihan said his injuries are “extremely serious and life-changing” but doctors are still working to understand the full extent of the damage.
“It is very early stages and the full extent of his injuries are being uncovered. However, he will require many surgeries and has years of rehabilitation ahead of him,” he said in a post to Facebook on Saturday morning.
Mr Lenihan wrote that his brother-in-law, a skilled builder, had been lucky that an off-duty emergency doctor was on the beach at the time of the attack to help apply a tourniquet using leg ropes from surfboards.
Another photo, taken after Mr Begg was brought ashore, showed his surfboard snapped just above the fins while shards of fibreglass had also been torn away.
The surfboard has been seized by police.
Mr Begg is the main income earner of his young family including “loving partner” Tracy and their two children.
A GoFundMe to help the family pay for his medical bills and the future cost of his traumatic injuries has already raised more than $30,000.
Firefighters from the Fire and Rescue NSW Port Macquarie station offered up thoughts and prayers to the former on-call firefighter.
NSW Police Chief Inspector Martin Burke confirmed Mr Begg attempted to battle with the shark and had sustained injuries during so.
“The reports are that a man has tried to fight this shark for 30 seconds and has then swum himself to shore where he has realised he has sustained significant lower leg injuries,” Chief Insp Burke said.
“From what I understand, it was a sustained and prolonged attack.”
An off-duty emergency room doctor happened to be on the beach at the time and swiftly; y and sprung into action to tourniquet his leg.
Chief Insp Burke commended the doctor for bravely stepping up to help save Mr Begg’s life.
‘To have the absolute luck of having an emergency department doctor on scene are all going to be key things that are going to lend itself to giving this gentleman the best chance of survival,” he said.
A teenage girl who witnessed the attack told 9News the man’s foot had been “ripped off” and he was “bleeding everywhere”.
“They were trying to talk to him, he was silent, he was frozen,” she told NBN.
“They tried to tie his leg with the leg rope from the surfboard and some sticks to keep it straight.”
Tacking Point Surf Lifesaving Club, which manages Lighthouse Beach, announced about 11.30am on Friday the beach had been closed.
“Please be aware that Lighthouse Beach is currently closed due to a shark attack,” the club wrote on Facebook.
“Non-fatal (attack), thank goodness, but please stay out of the water.”
Shark biologists have assessed photographs of the bite marks on the surfboard and determined the shark responsible for the attack was likely a Great White Shark measuring in between 3.8m and 4.2m.
No sharks matching that description have been spotted in nearby waters since the attack, a NSW Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman said.
However, a Great White Shark was detected by a shark listening station on Thursday.
Another three Great White Sharks were caught on the SMART drumlines in the area that day including one at Lighthouse Beach.
The attack comes as shark nets divided the NSW parliament this week.
Premier Chris Minns confirmed nets would be redeployed across 51 beaches from September 1 until April 30, despite opposition from a united cross bench featuring the Liberal Party, Greens, Animal Justice, and other minor parties and independents.
However, Mr Minns said he would not be “rushed” into implementing alternative methods.
“This is an important decision and when it comes to the safety of people that recreate, surf and use city beaches, I need to make sure we’re completely satisfied towards the appropriate decision,” he said.
While Lighthouse Beach is not part of the state’s shark meshing program, it is monitored by two Shark Management-Alert-In-Real Time (SMART) drumlines.
The lines use bait to attack sharks, which then trigger a surveillance team to inspect the animal.
-With NCA Newswire