Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Sunday, 1 March 2009

Shark attacks Australian surfer

By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

The beach was closed after the attack
The beach was closed after the attack

An Australian surfer has been attacked by a shark at a northern Sydney beach - the third such attack in as many weeks.

The teenager was said to be in a stable condition after suffering severe lacerations to his leg when surfing with his father at Avalon.

Experts believe cleaner waters around Sydney, plus a rise in fish stocks due to a ban on commercial fishing, have attracted more sharks to the area.

In one recent case, a diver lost limbs in a shark attack.

The 15-year-old boy suffered severe cuts, particularly to the upper thigh, and was bleeding heavily when he was brought to shore.

He was airlifted to hospital, where his condition has been described as stable.

Nobody has been killed in the attacks, but a naval diver lost an arm and a leg after being attacked in the city's harbour, close to the Opera House.

And a surfer almost lost a hand when he was savaged at Bondi.

It was the first attack at Australia's iconic beach in 80 years.

People have been warned not to swim alone at dawn or dusk, but researchers have also pointed out that more people die from bee stings and lightning strikes than shark attacks.

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